Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Christmas Letter

I have had all sorts of posts half written for a few months, but just haven't sat down to finish them all. Thanks to anyone who has read along this year. Just in case there was anyone who I forgot to mail our Christmas letter to, I thought it might be fun to share it here along with the photo I sent (taken by Liz Duren).  Some more details made more generic because I'm paranoid and don't like the exact place we live and work out there on the interwebs.  

December 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, friend! 

We hope this letter finds you well.  This year has been full of the unexpected for us, and in case it’s been a while since we’ve actually had the chance for a face-to-face conversation, then let us fill you in on what’s been happening with a glimpse into a typical day for us:

Somewhere between 6:30-7am: Jason and I wake up for work.  Hold on, you’re thinking, Jason is there? I thought he was supposed to be on an overseas job? Well, yes, he was, but -surprise! - two months into it, he got the news that he got to come home.  So while it was a disappointment in some ways because Jason was looking forward to the job, we are glad it meant he got to be here most of the year.

7am-8am: Drive to the train station and commute from MD into DC.  One of the things we had done to preparation for Jason’s absence, was to move in with Sarah’s parents for the year, so she didn’t have to be solo.  So when – surprise! – Jason came home, it meant, - surprise! – we both get to live with Sarah’s mom and dad until we figure out what comes next.  We do miss our short commute that we had living in DC, but the train is still a better option than fighting beltway traffic.

8am-depends-on-the-day pm: Work at some Federal economic agency.  It’s hard to believe, but we’ve both been at our jobs for 8 years now, and we still only sit a few cubicles away from each other.  Although we don’t often work on the same projects, commuting, working, and living together sure is convenient, and makes us wonder how couples who aren’t always together ever get the chance to talk.  It also makes us wonder if we should get separate hobbies.  :) We’ll get to experience it though in January, when Jason is going to be on a rotational program with another related office.

6pm-7pm: Commute home. One thing we are excited about is that this commute will look different next year.  This is because we will be getting off at a different train stop and walking five minutes to our new house in MD.  For the past 8 years, the longest either of us has lived in one place is 18 months (about what our stint with Sarah’s parents will be), so we’re pretty excited to have a place that we are planning to be in for a while.  Part of me (Sarah) wonders if we’ll get bored and want to move anyways.  :)  This house was another thing that was a bit unexpected.  We’d been talking about various neighborhoods in the tri-state area (DC, MD, VA) for the past year, but didn’t really think we’d buy for another year or so.  Plus, we were really leaning towards going back to DC.  However, this opportunity kind of fell into our laps. It has the walkability to public transportation/shops that we loved in DC, plus nearby family, good schools, and a lot more square footage that we hope to grow into one day.  So again – surprise! – one week we aren’t even looking at houses, and the next we own a house that will be built this spring.

7pm-8pm: Depending on the day, we may be working out in preparation for the half marathon we did in November, attending an Alumni Association meeting (clearly this is Sarah – who else loved hanging out with her teachers so much?), and on the really rare occasion, we’ve actually been able to eat and be done with dinner this early (see next hour).

8pm-9pm: Some kind of dinner “event” occurs.  Sometimes it’s with friends.  Sometimes it’s with family.  Sometimes it’s just us.  Jason has been becoming quite the chef this year, especially when it comes to anything dough.  (Sarah has even taken to Instagramming his creations with the hashtag #doughmanstrikesagain, if you are into that sort of thing.)  He’s become quite the expert at homemade pasta, pizza dough, potpies, and of course, cookies.  The “dough man” has also managed to use up an entire 25-pound Costco bag of flour this year.  It’s been fun to make different parts of the meal together, but it’s not always fast, hence dinner becoming an “event.” We also try to make enough for leftovers, so we don’t have to do this every night.  In addition to dabbling in food, Jason has been starting to use grains to make his own beer.  The first attempt will be after Christmas, when Jason’s dad, the true beer-making expert, will be around to supervise.

9pm-10pm: In the summer, this was our favorite time to go to the local ice cream shop. Lately, it’s when we are making house-related decisions (usually involving spreadsheets and pinterest).   Often, it’s been the time we get caught up on our current TV series with Sarah’s parents.  Even though we set up our own space upon moving in, we retreat to it a lot less often than we expected, and have enjoyed the nightly ritual together.

Ok, so we usually get sucked into watching “one more episode” until later than 10pm, but we also don’t always just work every day either.  Our weekends have been packed with exploring local wine country, hanging out with our nieces and nephews at their sporting events/ orchestra concerts/ apple picking, and visiting with friends and family all over the country.  Sarah somehow used her 30thbirthday in August as an excuse to do fun stuff all year (think telling the waitress 3 months later). We also managed to squeeze in a ski trip to Aspen that we’ve been talking about for years right before Christmas (so if you are getting this after Christmas, that is why – sorry).

So that’s a glimpse into our day and year.  We’ve had both unexpected blessing and trials, but grateful for the redemption Christmas reminds us of, and the truth of Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of a man plan his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  Catch up with our adventures throughout the year (or just on the rare occasion that Sarah updates it) at our blog, .  All of our love and blessings to you and your family!


Jason and Sarah