Friday, December 31, 2010

She is my third cousin. (I think?)

The summer before my senior year of high school, my great grandma died. My family and I were in Hawaii on vacation when we got the news. We decided to fly back to New York to go to her funeral. It was a miserable couple of flights but when we got to New York it was worth it. I got to see all the places my dad and my grandparents had spent time before they moved to Colorado. It was incredible to see their old houses and visit their old friends. We caught up with family who I hadn't seen in years. It was an amazing trip.

The most amazing thing about it was that I met Brenda. She is my dad's dad's brother's daughter's daughter. You follow? Haha. She is my third cousin. (I think?) Anyway she is amazing and we have established a great friendship in the last 6 years. A couple years ago she got married to a Marine and moved to San Diego. I don't see her nearly as often as I'd like, but whenever we get together it's a blast.

Her husband is deployed in Afghanistan until May, making the holidays especially tough for her this year. The Thursday before Christmas, I got a call asking if she could drive from California to Colorado for Christmas. Um, hello? OF COURSE! So she got in her car with her roommate and her dog and drove practically through the night to make it to Christmas Eve dinner. She spent a few days with us and it was so great to see her. I was so happy that we could share the holidays with her, so that she and her roommate didn't have to be alone on Christmas. I can't imagine knowing my husband was a half a world away, not being able to celebrate.

She is an amazing woman. Brenda, I'm so grateful to have you in my life. I can't wait until Bryan comes home and we get to have babies together and they will get to play together. I love you!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

That's what gets me through

Many of you may already have seen this in your mailboxes, but I thought I would post it here as I finally finished it. This is the Christmas letter I finally settled on. Although it may not be fun and lighthearted, it is something honest and from the heart. Most days I do have faith. Some days I lean on others to find my faith. Either way, I have my faith and that's what gets me through.

December 14, 2010

Family and Friends—

As 2010 draws to a close, I become nostalgic. Another year, another birthday, another holiday to celebrate. Life is good. In my dad’s words, “Life is rich.” Isn’t that the truth? We are blessed with a great life, a beautiful affordable home, a spaztastic puppy, family who loves us, and we have each other.

This year was interesting, wrought with diverse, new experiences. Adam and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in July. What a milestone! We made it through the first year. At the young age of 24, this really is a big deal. So many times young kids get married and don’t even make it six months, so for this we are grateful. I started a new job at Alpine Bank in Aspen. It’s a fantastic, secure job with really awesome benefits. I love who I work with, and really feel like a part of the team. Adam also just recently started a new job at the Snowmass Club Townhomes doing property management. He is enjoying the laid back atmosphere and also has good benefits.

In January and in August, we experienced the richness of life in a different way than we are used to. We went through two very painful and difficult times in our life. It is easy for us to get bogged down in the emotional and heartbreaking details, but we are trying to remember the big picture. We are loved and we are blessed. We have come to know an incredible trust, not only in God, but in each other and in our family and friends. This in itself is an awesome blessing. You all have rallied around us and reminded us that there is a bigger plan that we can’t see yet. You have hugged us and loved us in times when we couldn’t even face getting out of bed. For this we are tremendously grateful. Thank you.

I have faith as we head into the new year of 2011, God is going to bless our small family even more. He has big plans for the two of us. With your support, we know that we can face anything. Although this letter isn’t the most cheerful, it is filled with our love for you. Again, thank you for your love, support, and prayers through this difficult year. Next year, I know, will be filled with much better news for all of our families! So, Happy Holidays! Enjoy the time you have with your families. Remember how blessed we all are, even in the difficult times. Life is rich.

God Bless,

Jess and Adam

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Sugar Plum Fairy was always my favorite

Growing up, my grandma took me to the Nutcracker every year. She would buy me a cute new dress, take me to dinner, and then take me to the Nutcracker at the Wheeler Opera House. It was always the highlight of my holiday season. The Sugar Plum Fairy was always my favorite. This year, I found out my employer was the biggest sponsor of the annual show of the Nutcracker. I quickly emailed the bank's marketing director when she announced that the bank had two pairs of tickets. A couple days later I got an email back saying that I had won one of the pairs!

I mentioned to my mom that I had two free tickets and that Adam definitely didn't want to go. She told me that she had never been. WHAT?! For some reason, it had never dawned on me that because I always went with my grandma, my mom never had the opportunity to enjoy the same experience. So, I invited her. We have been looking forward to it for at least three weeks. She even skipped a trip to Texas to pig hunt with my dad and my brother. (I know, what a sacrifice...)

We spent most of the day yesterday Christmas shopping locally. We went to the indoor winter farmers market and finished most of our shopping. Then we came back to my house and changed clothes and headed out the door into the winter storm that had shown up. We decided to leave my car at the bus stop on the highway so that she wouldn't have to go all the way back to my house after the show. I got into her car, and off we went.

Or so we thought. We were pulling out on to the highway, turning left, with a green arrow, and I looked to our left and an SUV was speeding towards us. I gasped and yelled something and she slammed on her breaks. The SUV hit the front end of her car and spun us ninety degrees, turning the car downvalley. Thank God I yelled, otherwise she wouldn't have hit her breaks, and we would have been t-boned, likely crushing my mom's side of the car. We called the cops, no one was hurt, and parked her car to be towed later on. Luckily everyone was ok, and both cars had insurance. It was very scary though.

With about an hour to spare, we headed into town to dinner and then headed to the show. We were not going to let even a car accident stop us from seeing the Nutcracker! We enjoyed a delicious dinner and then carefully drove to the show.

It was such a great show! It always is. It was so fun being there with my mom and seeing her enjoy the ballet as much as I always have. It really does get you in the mood for the holidays! I feel so grateful to be able to share the experience with my mommy, that for so long I shared with my grandma. I am also very grateful that we are both ok after the scary events before the show.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The looming Christmas letter

I grew up in a household where we wrote thank you cards. I also wrote a letter that accompanied my high school graduation invitations. I am a writer, and I thought that the recipients of my graduation invites, would want to know what I was up to after graduation. It worked well. So, every year Adam and I have been together, I have written a Christmas letter to send out with our Christmas cards. I grew up with my dad writing our Christmas letter that went out, usually after Christmas. His were always funny and witty and clever. They were a lot to live up to.

This year, I have ordered our Christmas cards. I have them ready to be addressed and mailed. But I'm faced with this looming task of a Christmas letter. I just can't write it. I've started it three different times. I've tried three different formats. I've tried a clever poem. I've tried writing it from our dog. I've tried a traditional letter updating our friends and family on the past year. But I just. can't. write. it.

How do I write a Christmas letter without talking about the two life changing, perspective altering, heart breaking events that occured in 2010? And conversely? How do I write a Christmas letter and talk about two miscarriages that nearly ripped our hearts in two? How do I put into words the despair we felt this year? And yet, how do I pretend like it hasn't happened and write a letter about all the blessings we have felt this year? It's like a looming topic that I don't want to talk about anymore, but one that I feel like absolutely defines our year.

I'm going to keep trying to write the letter, but if you get a card without a letter, don't take it personally. It's not meant to offend. It's just that I can't find the words or the politically correct way to write a Christmas letter after an incredibly difficult year.

One thing I do know is that 2011 will be much better than 2010. I know that for sure.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Sometimes people ask me why I live where I live... Why I want to live in one of the most expensive places in the country...

This is why.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Baby steps

Some days are harder than others. These are the only words I have today.

A dark cloud looms overhead
Fogging my judgement
A shadow over my thoughts
Consuming dreams
One foot in front of the other
Baby stepping around this touchy subject
Tiptoeing around the shards of broken glass
Broken hearted
Still smiling
Fraudulent words disguising sharp aches
Dissolving into stinging tears
Kind words
Eat at the pain
Struggling to stop the decay
With no evolution
One day at a time
Minutes transform hours
Hours convert days
Days become months
Clarity will come
Anguish will be bliss
Just hold on

And a quote for you to ponder:
"There is, I am convinced, no picture that conveys in all its dreadfulness, a vision of sorrow, despairing, remediless, supreme. If I could paint such a picture, the canvas would show only a woman looking down at her empty arms."
--Charlotte Bronte

Friday, December 3, 2010

Proceeded to giggle wildly

Adam wasn't feeling well last night, so I let him bring the dog up on the bed with us. He can be a baby when he was sick, but last night he was in real pain, so I genuinely felt bad for him. And our dog is super cute. He finally fell asleep, so I was relieved we weren't facing a trip to the emergency room (there is a legitimate concern for this). Things were quiet so I decided to read my book for a bit. Out of nowhere, the dog AND my husband started snoring soooo loud. They were both so annoying that I looked over and was just about to wake Adam up, when I saw this:
Seriously?! The bad little black dog was snuggled up next to my adorable husband with her tongue just peeking out of her mouth and they were both rumbling the bed with their snoring. I couldn't bring myself to wake them. So instead, I got my phone, took a few pictures and proceeded to giggle wildly. Needless to say, Adam woke up from my ridiculous laughter and was less than thrilled.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

From our honeymoon in July 2009, Puerto Vallarta Mexico. This is where I'd like to be on this snowy December day. Yes please.