Monday, December 29, 2008


Christmas is such a beautiful time of year no matter where you live or what you do. It is a time to reflect on our Savior Jesus Christ and all that he has done for us. And it is a time to reflect on the importance of his birth and what it truly meant to have him walk, and teach on this earth. Christmas is also a time to spend time with family if you are able to do so. Joel and I were able to see a little bit of both our families over Christmas this year, even with the crazy snow fall that we have been having.

On Christmas Eve we went to Joel's Parents house to have dinner, read the Christmas story out of Luke and open presents. This is usually a huge event, but due to the weather only a few of his siblings were able to make it home for Christmas this year. Then on the drive home our car broke. I know that things like this happen to everyone, and it really was not that big of a deal, except that it was a blizzard and we had no heat or power in the car, and had to wait for Joel's dad to come help us out. We were so thankful to be safe at home later that night.
Then on Christmas day Joel and I were not able to get to my Mom's place due to the snow and lack of a vehicle, so my family came to us. My mom and Mike and my brother David both have big 4-wheel drive vehicles, so they were able to make it to our house. We had a pizza lunch and then open presents.

Joel and I got a stepping stone for the yard that says families are forever.
Lots of our family on both sides decided not to do gifts this year, and we were fine with that. The best part of Christmas is just to be with people you enjoy and love.
Then after Christmas, I was able to see one of my closest friends - Rachel - who has moved away to Utah to work, but was home for Christmas. I love when she comes home. Her and Shavonne came over to my house for a few hours and we just chatted and had a great time together. I only wish it could have been a longer visit.

(Rachel, Jen and Shavonne)
Joel and I are just grateful to have a home, jobs, and such wonderful friends and family.
We are looking forward to what 2009 has in store for us.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Goin' Snowshoein'

Joel and I live in a development outside of town that has 5 miles of hiking trails through the countryside. We bike and hike around it in the summer, and we enjoy taking our snowshoes out and hiking through the woods in the winter.
We got a few feet of new snow the other day, so we decided that it would be nice to go for a walk out in the snow this weekend.
The snow is so beautiful, but it was really cold. Lets just say...I did not bundle up very well and cut our walk shorter than Joel would have liked.
We will try the hike again soon.

(Joel hiking around - he is always wanting to explore something.)

(Jen taking a break...but not for long...the snow was freezing!)

(Us hiking back to our house)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Our Anniversary

Joel and I celebrated our 3rd Anniversary yesterday. These last few years have flown by.
Our plan was to head up to our friends (The Meyers) condo at swietzer yesterday, and then go skiing today. We heard that it was going to snow a few days ago, but when it started snowing yesterday morning, we decided we might need to have a plan B. We never would have made it to the condo. We decided to drive to Coeur D'Alene instead and stay a night at the CDA Resort on the lake. The Resort was beautiful and very relaxing.
I always feel a little wierd staying the night in a Hotel so close to home, but it was nice just to get away.

(This is a picture of the Resort in the Summer)

We got to the resort and asked to stay in their cheapest room, knowing that their cheapest room would even be expensive. We started talking to the man at the front desk, and we told him that it was our anniversary, and he decided to give us a lakeview $350 room, for $119. It was so nice and had a warm fireplace, and the view was amazing. Too bad it was not hot and sunny...then we could have sat out on the patio.

(This is what the patio looked like. We were not going to spend any time out there)

It continued snowing through the night and is still snowing right now. We decided to leave Coeur D'Alene early and head home. We knew the drive home would be extra long due to the road conditions. We drove slow and had no problems until we got about 3 blocks from our home.
We totally got stuck in the middle of a road that had not been plowed.
Our neighbor towed us home, which we were so thankful for.
Lets just say that we will not be going anywhere for awhile. We are totally snowed in.

(Shoveling out our front walk)

We borrowed our neighbors snow blower to clear out the driveway so we could get our car inside.

(This is a picture of our back deck. )
We have gotten over 3 feet of new snow in the last 24 hours, and it just continues to fall.
I think the snow is so pretty, but do not like the fact that we can not get out if we need to.
This weather made us remember spending last years anniversary in Hawaii. We did enjoy the warmth of Hawaii, but we are so lucky to have a warm house. We are going to make chocolate chip cookies and watch a movie this afternoon.
Should be fun.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

wHiTe ElePhaNt GiFt eXcHanGe

Last night we went over to our good friends house - Ben and Kim Burt - and had a Christmas White Elephant gift exchange. It was so much fun. Most of us, including spouses, have been friends for several years - back to the good old college days in Cheney. Us four couples do a lot together, and hopefully we will make this an annual tradition, because we all had a blast.

(Joel, Ben, and Wes - eating food before the big exchange)

(The girls!! - Beth, Steph, Kim, and Jen)

Then after we all ate the yummy appetizers that everyone brought, the exchange began.
Ohhh - there was some pretty funny gifts. We will see if any of them make it back to next years party.

Brett got some Poop-pourri, which is some kind-of spray that you put in the toilet bowl to make your bowel movements smell better.

Beth and Wes ended up with some blocks that I made for the party. I just made them out of scrap wood, and they spell the word believe, but for some reason they were a hit, and happened to be traded quite a bit. However...Beth and Wes ended up with the letters in the end, and an Eddie Bauer Fanny Pack - Ha. Ha.

Ben happened to get some leopard handcuffs and a pregnancy test - How Funny!

Oh Yes... Joel and I made out with - drum roll please - a pooping snowman (which Joel loves) and a lava lamp.

The night was great. Joel and I are so grateful for great friends, and the opportunity to hang out with the ones close by on a regular basis. We are really so blessed.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cutting Down Our CHRISTMAS Tree...

Every year Joel and I go out in the Collville National Forest to cut down a Christmas tree. They usually end up looking like a "Charlie Brown" tree, but the adventure of hiking to find a tree is so much fun, and you cannot beat the price of a $5 permit - and we always end up loving the tree once we get it home. This year our good friends, Beth and Wes, came with us. It was Beth's birthday (December 6, 2008), and we had planned to have muffins and light candles in them to sing to her, but we kind-of took a wrong road at the beginning of the trip which put us behind schedule the rest of the day. But even with the longer car ride, we all had a good time picking out our trees.

After much searching... Joel and I finally found our tree!

(Joel and I hiking in the woods, searching for a tree)
This year was different, because there was no snow on the ground. It had been freezing rain the night before, so the roads were slick, but that gave Wes a great time - off roading in his jeep.
After we got back, we quickly put our tree in water, and were off to our friends house to watch their kids while they went to a work Christmas Party, and then we had a soccer game at 10:40 at night... so the tree had to wait until after church on Sunday to get decorated.

(Our cute tree)
Joel and I had so much fun decorating the tree. We put Christmas music on, and had a blast.
Then after we decorated the tree, Joel helped me finish some Big Christmas blocks that say "Believe". I saw some blocks similar in a store a few weeks ago and they wanted $35 for them.
I decided to make them myself with some scrap wood, and the finished product maybe cost $3.
We had a busy weekend, but full of fun and great memories.
It really allowed us to get into the Christmas spirit!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Finally a Piano

This is our piano!!! I have been wanting a piano for years. I grew up with a piano in the home, and have always had a love for piano music. Joel said that we could get one if we found a good deal. So recently I had been looking around, and finally found one on Craigs List for a pretty good price. I was pretty nervous to go look at it, and wanted to make sure that it was in fairly good condition and that the sound was I asked my mom (who taught piano for years, and is an amazing pianist) to come with me and check it out. We went to the house to look at it, and I loved it --- especially for the price. It is not perfect in appearance, but the sound is great. My mom then suprised Joel and I, and said she would get it for us for Christmas.
Honestly...this is the best present ever! Thanks mom.

(Joel and Wes bringing the heavy beast in the house)
I say heavy beast, because I told Joel and Wes that it looked light and should not be a problem moving. They both could have killed me, and were sore for about a week. I was so grateful for the help and muscles. They are the best!
(What strong MEN!!)
Joel and I are in love with this new piece of furniture. I am going to start teaching piano lessons a few nights a week in January 2009 to make some extra money to finish the basement, and help with Joel's tuition (Joel decided to take night classes and sit for the CPA exam once he gets enough accounting credits to do so). But really... I am just excited to have a piano to play again.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving would not be complete without the annual Sobotta football game. Some years are larger than others, and this year happened to be one of the smaller years, but we still had a great time playing football with family and friends. This picture is just of the family that was playing - My borthers Dave and Eric, Me, My sister-in-law Jenny, and Joel.

Then we were off to my mom's house for a Thanksgiving lunch. There were quite a few people there. It was great to see everyone, especially relatives that do not live close by.

(One of the Thanksgiving tables...consisted of me and Joel, Eric and Jenny, Dave and Maria, and my Uncle Dave, Aunt Lyndi, Cousins Anna and John, and of course little Maveric)

(Another one of the Thanksgiving tables with my mom and Mike, and Melisa, Scott and Bailey.)

(Eric, Jenny, and Maveric -- I just thought this was such a cute picture of their family)
This is Maveric's first Thanksgiving!!

(Me and Maveric playing after lunch)

Maveric and Bailey playing the piano together.

(Maveric and Grandma)
Then after we ate at my mom's place, we headed over to Joel's parents for a Thanksgiving Dinner. It was a very busy day, but it is nice to be able to spend the holiday with both of our families that live in the area.

(Joel and his brother Justin playing on the floor)

(Dinner at Joel's place. Dinner was small this year because many of Joel's brothers and sisters were not able to come to Cheney for the holidays. Joel's sister Jill and her husband Jason and their new addition Gage were able to join us for dinner.
I am not a huge fan of Thanksgiving food in general, but I love this holiday because you get to see so many loved ones, and reflect on all that we have to be thankful for.
I am so grateful that I was able to spend time with family and to have such a wonderful husband.
Life is good!

Then to top off the week, I got to see Krista. She was home from college and stopped by our house to say hello. She is like a little sister to me, and she always makes my day so much better.
Joel and I love her to death.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Family Home Evening

This last week for Family Home Evening (FHE) - a night that Joel and I set aside to do something as a family and have a spiritual message - it was my turn to prepare the message and the activity. I came across a talk about how to build a more positive, uplifting marriage. The talk was wonderful and it gave seven ideas of how to make a marriage more positive and loving. I think that Joel and I have a great marriage, but we can all use some enlightment and reminding from time-to-time. It talked about how you should ask yourself questions before being critical towards a spouse (ie, Are they ready to hear the critism, are you talking out of frustrations with things in your own personal life, ect...). It also talked about always having romance in your marriage. And several other tips. It was great to read the suggestions, and to talk about ways we can improve our marriage and personal lives.
Then after our discussion, we wrote 12 reasons we love the other person. I recently made an advent calendar for the month of December, and instead of putting candy or treats in the slots, we decided to write reasons we love each other.

(This is what the sheets looked like. I made one red and one green, and we cut them into 12 strips and wrote reasons we love each other on them.

Then we folded them up and placed them in the slots on the calendar. Joel is the odd days and I am the even. I am actually excited for December to come, so that I can start reading my notes from Joel.

Here is the finished project with all the notes inside. I made the calendar out of a 24-count muffin tin and then put magnets on the back of the dated paper.

All in all...I am just so thankful that Joel and I take time to do activities like this together, and have spiritual messages that we each get to prepare for our family. I am so thankful that I married Joel. He is a great husband and an amazing best friend.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gold and Green Ball

Our church has an annual dance for adult couples called the "Gold and Green Ball". This year the ball was on November 15, 2008, and we decided to go out to dinner with some friends of ours before hand - to make it a complete date night.

Here is a picture of everyone at dinner. Steph and Brett, Kim and Ben, and Joel and I went to Rock City Grill for dinner. We all always have such a great time together, and really enjoy each others company.

(The the dance.) dances are not always tons of fun, and they can be pretty interesting as well. But we all had a great time together, and made the event a great one. I am so grateful for the group of friends that we have here in Spokane, and the memories that we make together.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lazy Fridays...

I get bored on Fridays from time-to-time. The job that I have right now allows me to make my own schedule, so I decided that for the rest of 2008, I would work Monday-Thursday and have Fridays off. I did this schedule for two reasons: 1) For the three day weekends, and 2) Because of the holiday season this year - Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all land on Thursdays - which will give me four-day paid holiday weekends.

Trust me...I am not is just that sometimes I get bored on Fridays, because everyone else is usually working. So this last Friday, I decided to make a fall craft for the house. I used all scrap wood that Joel had laying around the garage, and some random scrapbooking paper, and made this Thanksgiving sign for our front table. Joel came home at lunch on Friday to help me cut the wood blocks to the appropriate sizes - What a great husband I have!!

My mom let me borrow her cricut cutter for a few weeks, so I made the letters out of black paper. (Thanks Mom!) Joel liked the sign before I put the leaves on it, but I still think that it looks cute.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another Fun Filled Weekend...

(The Anderson Family that was in attendance at the wedding)

Joel's sister Jenny got married this last weekend on November 1, 2008. She married Eric Nelson in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. Joel really enjoyed having a lot of his siblings and their families around for the weekend. His family is so big - it is hard to get everyone together.

(The bride and groom - Jenny and Eric Nelson)

(Joel with his brother Justin and his niece Erica)

(Erica and I waiting for the pictures to begin)

(Joel and I after the wedding)

The parks in Coeur D'Alene are beautiful, especially in the fall.
Halloween 2008!

Erica dressed as a witch this year, and her brother Andrew was a boyscout.

Little Gage was a skeleton, and Cole was a Tiger.

Joel's niece and nephews came to our neighborhood this year to trick-or-treat. It was fun to see them all dressed up. Erica was the winner for getting the most candy.

(These are our neighbors - Benson was a monkey and Raegan was a cat. They are so cute.)