Aarhaus Christmas Letter 2009

By , December 27, 2009 11:23 am

Well, sigh… no Christmas cards this year.  I had one weak moment on December 22nd and almost sent out “last-minute-oh-crap-gotta-send-something-out” cards, but Hubby literally pulled me away from the card stock.  He wanted our only vacation night without kiddos (Zeke went to bed super early and Bubba stayed the night with the in-laws) to be OUR night, not “Alyssa’s frantic card-making extravaganza.”  After returning from our mountain Christmas vacation (courtesy of the in-laws), I decided to write this letter. Drumroll, please, as this is a first edition Aarhaus Christmas letter…

Merry Christmas!

Dear Family and Friends-

We hope you enjoy these Aarhaus 2009 highlights with cheesy pics included!

January took us to Orlando for a week with Alyssa’s entire family and included a sweet visit to Mickey Mouse.  February 1st Alyssa officially left the active duty Army.  It would take more than this paragraph to explain why, but she hasn’t regretted her decision to leave for a second.  When not chasing the boys around the house, she enjoys her National Guard job one weekend a month.

Bubba is our dinosaur expert and has far too many preschool girlfriends.  He turned four in November and loves anything involving a super cape.  His favorite places are the Dinosaur Museum (Denver Museum of Nature and Science) and the Children’s Museum.

Zeke (or Zek-ee Benito as we like to call him) lost his baby face and became a little boy.  We celebrated his baptism in April and can’t believe he already turned one in August.  He loves his brother, which we hope lasts for awhile, and just started walking.

We hosted a couples bible study this year and celebrated the end of our first study by surprising Hubby for his 30th birthday in June.  Hubby’s still designing power plants and any other carpentry project Alyssa schemes.

In August, Alyssa celebrated her 30th birthday by hiking a 14,000 foot mountain with Hubby.  She’s recently returned to writing and thanks Hubby for wrestling with the boys so Mommy can update her new website, FromMilitarytoMom.com.

This is the first year we don’t have an Army move pending and hope you can visit us in Colorado soon.  Thanks for remembering us with your beautiful Christmas cards.  We are thankful to have made such amazing friends throughout the years.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Love Hubby, Alyssa, Bubba, and Zek-ee


Update to DIA Welcome Home Christmas Celebration

By , December 23, 2009 8:53 am

So much fun at DIA yesterday.  If you are interested, the group will be at DIA all day today and Christmas Eve.  (Here’s my original post on the subject)  The best part about this project was that we had no idea if we would see one soldier or none coming out of arrivals.  We saw almost ten during the two hours we cheered and it was worth it to see their surprised and grateful smiles as they came off of the escalator.  One airport employee commented she had no idea that many soldiers came through the airport every day until she listened to how many times we cheered.

Merry Christmas!  I’m remembering my Dad in Baghdad without family this Christmas and counting down the days till his airport coming!


From Army to Mommy: My Story Part III

By , December 21, 2009 11:30 pm

Missed the first part of the story?  Start here.

It only took a week or two before the novelty of college FREEEEDOOOMM (said with Mel Gibson gusto) wore off.  After playing ping pong until 3 a.m. several nights in a row with my newfound friends, I started to wonder why I was the only one getting up two hours later to exercise.  I learned quickly that Army physical fitness was not a “how about a few sit-ups and jokes around the weight set?” kind of deal either.  I came to the Gonzaga ROTC program barely able to complete 15 “knee” push-ups and within two months could easily knock out 40 real ones.  I froze my rear end off running along the Spokane River Walk, began my lifetime loathing of flutter kicks (an evil, EVIL ab exercise), and kind-a started to feel tough.

I launched into my leadership education about the time my skinny arms developed muscle and I discovered the art of calling cadence (One, Two, Three, and a Quarter… Somebody, Anybody, Get me some water!).   Along with attending my other academic classes, I drove to Gonzaga three times a week for ROTC classes and outdoor lab.  Quite a switch in thinking to study core theology concepts in the morning and react to an ambush in the afternoon.

I wish I could say that education was the only thing on my mind those first few months of college, but my journal tells a different story.  To be honest, my journal is a little embarrassing.  I recently thumbed through the pages of September 1997 to March 1998 and prayed two things today: 1. Please don’t let my sons ever find this boy-crazy-nonsense  2. If I ever have a daughter, please remind me of these journal entries when she goes through her boy-crazy-nonsense.  No kidding, every other entry in my diary detailed some new dude I’d met and fallen for.

After sifting through too many pages of nauseating twitter-pation, I did find one or two heart felt entries. One on Valentine’s Day, February 1998, read: “I miss home, but where is home?  I stress about school and ROTC and grades and money.  I guess this is what real life is like.  I’m so lonely.”  At that point in my life I wanted to belong so much and unfortunately equated belonging to having a boyfriend.  To make matters worse, a pattern emerged with every new boy I met.  Initial attraction became clumsy friendship and then, boy learned that girl was more than girl, girl was ARMY girl, POOF, boy chased other girl. Almost every male interest I met my freshman year viewed me as not just a girl, but an Army girl.  In my experience, those nineteen-year-old boys thought my combat boots were intriguing from far away, but intimidating within reach.  I had just broken up with the only boy I thought would understand my military call with no replacement in sight.

I decided not to date anyone within the ROTC program, despite a crush or two I kept on some of them.  Early on, I joked that there was enough Army in me for whoever I dated and kind of stuck to that thought.  In April 1998, however, I became a desperate.  I needed a date to my first military ball and couldn’t think of anyone that would be up for it.  The annual Gonzaga ROTC gala was a tough sell. Hey Whitworth guy, wanna go to a fancy dinner and dance where you won’t know anyone except me and all the other guys will be in tough Army greens?  No wonder men weren’t lining my dorm hallway begging to be my date.

I was just about to break my “no-Army-dating” rule and ask another cadet, when I met him.  Tall, dark, and handsome, a Whitworth football player, and fellow Army brat, he seemed to good to be true.

To be continued…


Denver Christmas Service Project- Support the Troops

By , December 20, 2009 7:21 pm

Join me Tuesday to support troops coming home!  Bring your flags, patriotic (please not political) signs, and cheer our soldiers flying into the Denver International Airport.  I know it’s almost Christmas and there are a million reasons not to drive out to the airport, but forget about the checklist.  I’m meeting friends Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. in the middle of the airport next to the fountain to cheer for any soldiers that come up the arrival escalators.  Contact me if you need additional information.  Not local?  Start your own service project at your airport!  Imagine the support these troops will feel if this celebration spread across the states Christmas week.  I will never forget my last airport welcome home celebration.  Hope to see you there!

P.S.  Thanks to the Cherry Hills Community Church Support the Troops Ministry and Ken Whatmore for having the idea and starting this movement!


Should I send out Christmas cards this year?

By , December 14, 2009 4:43 pm

I’m down to the last minute.  Christmas Eve is in ten days and I haven’t sent out Christmas cards.  Last year I decided I was going to forego Christmas cards using the “just-moved-into-our-house-with-brand-new-baby” excuse, then I cracked on 20 December.  That’s right.  Five days before Christmas I changed my mind, haphazardly designed a card on Shutterfly, and sent it out in time to say “Happy New Year!”

It’s not that I don’t love Christmas cards.  I love getting Christmas cards from friends, especially our military friends, that we rarely see.  The pictures are always adorable and the letters informative.  Well, most of the letters are informative.  I must admit there are one or two distant friends of friends, or long-lost relatives that have sent letters detailing how hard it is for their two-year-old to NOT write in Latin or how they decided their ten day cruise off of St. Bart’s was a little on the long side.  I have never written a Christmas letter to include with our Christmas card, but I’m pretty sure no one wants to hear about the fifteenth time our dog, Hazel, decided to pee in the back office because she was jealous we didn’t take HER along to the park or how our pet-worm colony is doing in the basement (Yes, these are both true.  Worm post to come in a few.)

Anyway, so I really need help.  I have a bunch of cardstock and envelopes that I could use (don’t tell Zeke they were originally intended for his birth announcement that kinda didn’t happen).  And I was thinking about this photo …
Man, I love these boys!
When I asked Hubby last night if we should send them he said, “Nobody cares if they get a Christmas card from us.  Let’s just not do it this year.”  So I need to know, does no one care?  What do you think about Christmas cards?  Anyone?


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