Having returned from vacation, I am, as usual, way behind on posting

I did end up writing a Christmas letter. Here it is.

I think I speak for both of us when I say that we hope we never have another year quite as eventful as 2011. Not that we’re complaining – we’ve been richly blessed this year beyond our fondest dreams.
Ken Craymer and I got engaged on 1-1-11, prompting a “finally” from Ken’s mom (and probably a few others.) We planned our wedding in the next two days, then flew back to Cleveland where we proceeded to write our theses. Ken defended his Master’s thesis on Feb 11th (on micro-channel heat exchangers), we went on our first winter camping trip that night, and we headed back to WA on the 24th. We were in town for 36 hours, which was just long enough to get married and for Ken to infect nearly everyone in attendance with The Plague.
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From there we flew to San Diego for the TMS conference/honeymoon combo. We both succumbed to the Plague and tried to present posters, chair meetings, accept awards, and give presentations while either burning with fever or being unable cease coughing. After the conference we spent a few extra days in southern CA, going to the beach, revising a dissertation, exploring Anza Borrego St Park, and trying to recover from The Plague. A couple of weeks after returning to Cleveland I flew back to the Tri-Cities for my sister Bethany’s wedding. A week after Bethany’s wedding I successfully defended my PhD Thesis (on metallic glass failure mechanisms).

We went on a bike camping trip with some friends at the end of April. In May, my Mom, Dad, and sister Sara came to Cleveland a week before our graduation and we gallivanted about western NY, checking out the Corning glass museum, several of my Mom’s cousins, and a dog on a motorcycle wearing a helmet. Ken’s Dad arrived from CA after we returned to Cleveland, followed in rapid succession by Ken’s Mom from WA and my cousins, the Jacksons, from NC. We then graduated.
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My parents took our cats with them in anticipation of our moving back westward. Over Memorial Day weekend we went on a miserable backpacking trip wherein we had a rude introduction to black flies. I got two job offers allowing us to choose between the Seattle area and Albuquerque. Deciding we had soaked up enough rain in Cleveland to last us native desert dwellers for a lifetime (and because it was pretty much my dream job) we picked Albuquerque.

We headed back to the west coast on the 4th of July, where we spent one day moving Ken’s Porsche from his parents house to my parents house, five days camping on the Oregon coast with my family, and one day packing a U-haul box with our belongings. We then drove to ABQ with the cats. I started work and Ken flew back to CLE for a few days to oversee the movers. We couldn’t find a suitable rental, so we bought a house, which turns out to be a unnecessarily painful process. However, we eventually moved in and we love it.

In September, Ken flew back to WA to drive his parents van back down with his parents dog Heidi, his Porsche, a canoe, and a kitchen table. His stepdad Elis drove with him. Ken started work as a process engineer at a precious metal manufacturing facility the next Monday. Since then we have been spending our time working on the house and our surrounding 0.8 acres. We did take a break in November, when my family came to visit, then we went up to Golden CO for Thanksgiving, a day of skiing, and to get my Anna Grandma’s piano.
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We’re getting another dog this weekend, going to WA for Christmas next week, and coming back here for a little ski vacation over New Years.

Whew. Quite the year. We hope and pray that you enjoy celebrating the birth of our Savior who: “being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” Philippians 2:8-10

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