Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas 2009 Letter

What a year we have had!  First and foremost we feel so blessed to have all of you in our life and wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, and of course Happy New Year!  We hope this finds you all well and as blessed as we feel.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said “All life is an experiment”.  Jen has this quote on her computer to remind us that our lives are what we make of them and each day is a chance to learn something new.  We have been trying to take each experience as a new experiment and then readdress our lives accordingly.  It is okay if you make some mistakes along the way, none of us is perfect.  Our lives are a chance to correct those mistakes, laugh at some of them, and move on being all the wiser for these daily experiments!  So, we take this chance to share a little bit about our “experiments” this year, our life lesson and experiences that were meaningful to us, in hopes of keeping you connected and maybe even giving you some hope and holiday cheer!
We started off the year with Adam’s late, but much anticipated vacation leave from the year before.  We took the two weeks and went to Idaho for a late Christmas and Utah on the way home to see family.  In Idaho we had a wonderful time seeing all of Adam’s family that could gather.  Grandma Anderson’s house was packed and fun!  On our way home we got to see our brand new nephew Kai Avefua Fiso, yeah Dave and Jesi!  We were so excited to add another boy to the Smith grandkids; that makes 3 now!
Continuing on through the year was rather smooth sailing.  We celebrated our fourth anniversary in March, which was solidifying.  We are very much in love as we always have been, but we’re also able to spend a few waking hours away from each other now.  We have been really settling into our life with our two wonderful children, not egging the future on as much as living in the present, and trying hard not to miss any of the precious moments!
In April we made it to Utah again for Rick and Lisa’s graduation from BYU, they are both so dedicated.  We’re excited as they move on to pursue Rick’s PhD at Med School, and Lisa’s career as a nurse.  While we are traveling we are almost always welcomed into someone’s home, and wanted to again thank all those who put us up!  We did get to jaunt up to Logan and see some of Adam’s family for Jen and Tyler’s combined birthday party, that’s Adam’s second oldest brother.  Becky, his wife, made an awesome cake and it was a nice visit.  Us Arizonans even showed up with our flip flops on, and there was definitely still some snow to tread through! 
Summer came fast and hot this year, but we spent a lot of time in the pool.  First we went to California to celebrate Jaci’s graduation from high school.  She is now attending BYU, which means all 8 of the Smith’s have attended BYU!  We celebrated Joshua’s 3rd and Michael’s 1st birthdays this summer, since they are only 2 weeks apart we combined them this year; we’ll see how long they let us get away with that!  Joshua is learning so much so fast.  We see evidence of the fact that the most important years of a child’s life are the first few, every time we turn around we hear something interesting and shocking coming out of our 3-year-old’s mouth.  These are the “ah-ha” moments for us, when we realize that what we’ve been teaching him has actually stuck somehow, and it’s wonderful!  He is the epitome of imaginative play right now.  He is still the same old cuddly and sensitive Joshua he has always been, just with a sword or shield and dinosaur noises!  Michael is going through all of the stages Joshua did, just with a big brother to beat up on him.  He holds his own though, and is always a joy to have!  He lights up the room with one smile….his dimples are definitely handed down from daddy, and mommy loves him all the more for them!  He is just starting to put his sounds into actual words, but for months he has listened to instructions and followed them almost exactly, he’s definitely a smart one! 
Also during the summer Jen started teaching cake decorating classes for Wilton, and also started a little cake and confections business out of our home called Dekadent Designz by Jen.  She has been taught the art of cake decorating since her youth from Grandma Preston and has loved getting into some of the newer art forms this medium has to offer.  She usually teaches 2-3 nights a week, and it has been trying for her.  We have been able to get the business under way with some real effort and even more overhead!  We have been very busy, but also happy to have the work.  We feel especially blessed since, after 20+ years, Jen’s parent’s business TMS Transcription, Inc. is closing its doors due to the new Electronic Medical Records, having been given 24 million dollars in funding by the government.  It has been such a wonderful business that has provided dozens of moms a chance to work from home.  This economy is affecting all of us, and it’s troubling not being able to count this anymore.  Above our bathroom mirror Jen has written, “Say a little prayer, take a deep breath, and go”.  We think sometimes this the best way to cope with hardship; you just have to go to work, with the Lord on your side, not always knowing what He has in store.
Adam’s company is a grocery company, as many of you know, so in the hardships they are prospering more than others, which is great for us.  He has worked himself up to being an Assistant Store Manager and has even been looking for his own store.  As soon as he gets it we know he’s going to be turning some heads!  He is already making an impression on his peers and supervisors.  He constantly works later and harder, and we love him SO much for it!  He is such a strong Priesthood holder in the midst of all the Sundays he has to work, and leads our family righteously.             

Near the end of the summer we used up the last of our vacation with yet another trip to Idaho.  This time it was a Fenstermaker family reunion of sorts.  Adam’s mom's boys and their families all got together in Chubbuck, Idaho, which is near Pocatello.  We all met up and had a fun camping trip in the Caribou National Forest.  It was a bit cold and we headed back sooner than expected, but continued the festivities back at Grandpa and Grandma Dye’s house.  It was especially fun to have all the grandkids under one roof and watching them get reacquainted.  They are all such wonderful kids and get along pretty darn well considering how close most of them are in age.
The fall and winter have passed and we just kept getting up and going to work not knowing exactly what the next day was going to bring, just being grateful to be alive and well, and close to our family and friends.  We did get to go to California and spend a mini early Christmas with the Smith family.  It was short and sweet, but well worth the trip!  Michael even said “GaMa” and “Papa” to his Grandma and Grandpa, which he had just barely learned! 
We have missed seeing many of you, but look forward to the next time we will get to visit or talk.  We hope that you are all ending this year on a good note, and starting the next on an even better one!  We just try to keep smiling because we know our Father in Heaven is blessing us and our smiles can bless others.  We love you all and hope to keep in touch even more this year!