Christmas in D.C.

We were lucky enough to spend Christmas with some of Dave's family that lives just outside of D.C. this year. I feel like this family has quickly become my own-and am grateful that they have been so quick to welcome us as a part of the family. I really can't say how much I love all of  them. Every time I leave I am inspired by the way the keep their priorities straight-putting family and God first, all the while mixing in a lot of humor and love. I hope our family can be like them as we grow. 

I love having a big group around the table for Christmas dinner

 Aren't these ladies darling? 

 The two that started it all-and are worthy of emulation in every way


 
 Grandma Ellie's always so festive in her Holiday attire

 I think the world of these 4 guys (including the one on the piano). I'm hoping that somehow my sister Sarah runs into them a few years down the road...

Present from Ellie-"happy feet" toe separator socks...so funny 

 Traditional Christmas Eve dinner at their home-Bircher Muesli. Everyone has to add something to the pot-berries, nuts, milk, honey, fun memory of some of Sterling and Ellie's first Christmases. 

I still can't believe that next Christmas we will have a little girl, and that the years of our single Christmases are over. I can't wait to start our own traditions, make memories, and try to create as strong of a family culture like this family has.

Mother-in-law trippin'

You'd never know my mother-in-law is currently living in Germany with how much we get to see her. We're lucky that Connecticut is an easy stop when she's flying to the west coast. (Now if only Dave and Dave were more flexible so they could join us on all of our outings). 

There is something magic about the holidays on the East Coast. You pretty much can go in any direction from our house and find something worth visiting. So we went in two different directions and hit Newport, Rhode Island, and Manhattan.  

Loving these gates

 
  Inside the Rhode Island mansions

Great stop for fresh clam chowder right on the Newport Harbor


Later hitting up NYC with the fashionable Julie. We made a day of it hitting the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the Columbus Circle outdoor market,  and the Christmas windows.


But who knew she'd match the 5th avenue windows? (and is it just me or were they not very Christmas-y this year?)

Grateful to have amazing things to do, and a wonderful M.I.L. to trip with.

Woodstock

So this was one of those times when I felt like we're growing up. Like I felt like my parents...in a good way. We rented a cabin, planned meals and cooked them together, brought kids (or a kid), 3 of the 4 were expecting, and we had a fabulous time. 

Other highlights included ice cream in the very quirky town, walking through a couple darling boutiques, playing pass the parcel, cutest little girl, amazing food. Great time had all.

the gals

 the guys

 the girls did a lot of this

  
and the guys did a lot of this.

Pretty sure we all want to do a lot more things like this.

Giving Thanks

Isn't it special that we have a national holiday just to celebrate being thankful?

I am thankful. 

Thankful for my life. For finishing my education. For being able to live in Connecticut. For a husband that works so hard, makes me laugh, and is a joy to live with. For a family that has set such a great pattern of how to love. For being able to be pregnant and get to raise a little girl someday. For the knowledge that families are forever. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

As a disclaimer to these pictures, we have strange holidays around Thanksgiving and do things like roll rocks and shoot guns. And the funniest thing is, I only got pictures of this and not even of our Thanksgiving dinner. Looks like I fit right in.



 Lots of candid shots

 Reading the disclaimer for gun shooting

 Yes, even my 95 year old Grandpa shot the guns. A real WWII hero.


 So tough

 The gun show

 Uncle time


Caramel apple competition

I love these kids.

 We always end our Thanksgiving with family pictures. 



Thankful for this last Thanksgiving with just the two of us, and the many more Thanksgivings to come with our new little family.

Showered with so much St. George Love

Showered is the perfect word for what just happened in St. George. So many parts of my life came together in such a perfect afternoon at my parents home. From friends to high school, college, family from birth and recently through marriage were so generous and loving to me and our future sweet baby girl. 
Thank you. 
Thank you to my mom, Jesika, Sarah and Rachel, and to all the Jensen/Colton family that came so far, and to everyone else I have loved and looked up to that supported us and will continue to through this new life change. 
Sweet Baby, I can't wait for you to meet everyone who was there to shower you!

Love these girls
  
 Family through Dave, they drove from Vegas, Lehi and St. Johns. So sweet.

 Love my neighbor Jan


Love these three. Sweet women who have been there through all the stages.


 Two soon-to-be cousins hiding out. They set the bar pretty high for our little one!

 Food was delish.

I wonder if she's going to look like me or Dave?

These ladies made the magic happen.
I'm keeping them close and hope our daughter will grow up to be just like them.

A little news...

About the same time that I graduated from law school something else very exciting--much more exciting than graduation--was happening to me. Little did I know but inside of me things were changing, moving and making way for a new addition to the Jensen family.

A month later as I felt the nausea and discomfort I realized that the blessing I've been hoping and praying for might just be coming true. A few pregnancy tests later (I wanted to be sure to confirm and not get my hopes up prematurely) I broke the news to Dave. As I surprised him with the news we both sat for a few minutes, grins on our faces but a deeper joy in our hearts as we contemplated that this might just be real. However with the bar pressing down on me and the nausea welling inside of me it was all I could do to get through the next two months. I think I spent more time in the library restroom than the study desk, all the while offering up silent prayers that somehow the stress and worry wouldn't affect my pregnancy, or that I would know to stop if it was too much. (A few months later I heard about a girl this year in Illinois who was in labor taking the bar...and still passed.) 

The morning after I returned from taking the bar in Albany, Dave and I set off to enjoy Lake Powell and sunshine, and to break the news to my family! It was so sweet see the excitement in my parents faces, the tears in my sweet sister Jesika's eyes, and to see the understanding in my little niece and nephew's face (who had been praying for months for Uncle Dave and Aunt Lizzy to get pregnant) as we broke the news. What a great way to start a family vacation! 
We took this picture right after we got to Lake Powell, just a few minutes after we broke the news!
Words can't explain the feelings I had seeing the heartbeat for the first time, and then hearing it. I think my own heart grew two sizes that day. The quick whoosh of the little heart beat overwhelms me, and is followed by my own sigh of relief and prayer of gratitude every time I hear it. 

The first ultrasound
Dave and I decided we definitely wanted to find out the gender (I blamed it on the fact that I'm such a planner, but really just couldn't wait!).  I had been playing out the scenarios of having the oldest a boy or a girl in my mind for months, but kept feeling that it was a girl despite not having a preference (I will admit Dave was a little biased to blue :). Although the baby was in a crazy position the tech could quickly tell the gender and asked if we wanted to know. We heard "girl" and once again grinned in silence, contemplating how this would change our family and our lives. 
The position she would not budge from, except for to continually kick her little feet!
Her first profile. I am in love.
I think every stage of pregnancy gets sweeter. Along with ditching the nausea, the second trimester has brought increased energy and a new sensation, her movement. A few nights ago I lay sleepless on the bed holding my stomach and feeling her squirm and kick. Every time I feel movement it reminds me that she is real and alive and growing, and that I am blessed. 

I think I've never been so close to tears so often, with my overwhelming gratitude as a gateway to my emotions. Sometimes I wonder how much she knows and feels, and if she has any idea how blessed I feel to be her mom. At times I tell her just that, and all about how excited I am to meet her in just a few months. I already have so many dreams for her and can't wait to teach her all about what means so much to me, and learn so much from her.

So I guess for us it is big news, big changes, big purchases, big appetite, and a getting-bigger belly. The only thing that is still little is our little one, who's growing bigger every day!
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