1.22.2017

our 2016 Christmas letter

2016 Christmas Letter

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, which is a strong indicator that it’s time for Ian and Anna’s annual, awkward, third-person (usually late) Christmas letter! You may be thinking, “hey… I’m getting tired of waiting to read about more than just the two of you.” If so, this is your year: they got a cat! And she’ll get a whole paragraph all to herself! (Your excitement is palpable.)

2016 was packed full of milestones and life changes.

After six years of living footloose and car-free, Ian and Anna are now proud owners of a 2009 Honda Fit. They immediately put the car to the test by vacationing in Vermont on the coldest weekend New England had seen in decades. They spent lots of time around a roaring fire with good friends, and were thankful their new car performed admirably in the 40-below wonderland.

Anna crossed off a bucket list item by spectating at the world figure skating championships. She still can’t believe she was in the same building with the likes of Javier Fernandez and Mao Asada (and doesn’t understand why they don’t have the same status as the likes of LeBron and MJ). Ian turned 30, and while his actual birthday was spent in a UHaul truck driving from Albany to Cleveland, good friends helped Anna pull off a surprise birthday party the next week to mark the occasion (she’s eternally grateful). An even bigger milestone for Ian was watching the Cubs, his childhood team, win the World Series and end a 108-year championship drought!

In June, Ian’s parents and grandma exchanged the Atlantic Ocean for the Rocky Mountains with a move to Colorado (hence the birthday UHaul trip). Ian and Anna definitely miss them being a short drive away, but are incredibly thankful for all the family adventures they squeezed in before the move, and for all of the scoops of Katie’s ice cream they shared with Grandma Judy.

While Ian and Anna still haven’t accomplished all of the house projects that were on their before-move-in-day checklist yet (#newhomeowneroptimism), they have made great progress. If only the bathroom would renovate itself. And their biggest dream of homeownership came true (or at least Anna’s): they adopted a cat! (They actually adopted two pets this year, if you count Anna’s sourdough starter, but what’s to be said about a microorganism colony that lives in the fridge? This is also why Butter and Jelly, their 11-year-old African water frogs, don’t make Christmas letter appearances.) When they met Astrid at the animal shelter, she was terrified skittish, but purred like crazy when they petted her. They saw other cats that day, but couldn’t leave without Astrid. It took time, but she’s now completely settled in and loves her new home (and she’s best friends with the dining room set). Ian and Anna can’t imagine life without their little Manx.

Even bigger, the Jurey family grew by two whole people in 2016! Anna is so excited to officially have two (incredible) sisters! On April 30, they celebrated Nathan and Sara’s wedding in Kansas City, and on October 1, they celebrated Caleb and Kate’s wedding in Manhattan. Ian and Anna are also looking forward to Ren and Emily’s wedding in July!

Ian and Anna are so thankful to once again spend Christmas with so many family and friends, and hope your holiday season was just as wonderful!

P.S. Ian and Anna are having a baby in May! And yes, they found out: it’s definitely a human. (And healthy so far! Everything else will be a surprise!)

Want more? Read past Christmas letters here. 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2009 | 2008

1.01.2017

thankful list | December 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... 🎄#christmastime #russostreesarethebest

01. our new holiday-scented candles (Candelles' Blue Spruce is the BEST tree scent!).
02. Hulu, for getting me through a sick day.
03. Astrid, for staying close.
04. Ian, for taking care of me.
05. amazing homemade lasagna and great conversation with our upstairs neighbors.
06. our REUNION family.
07. a road trip, because it's been too long.
08. Christmas music.
09. The Nutcracker (and seeing my coworker rock as a professional bassoonist).
10. bananas.
11. an evening volunteering at Perkins.
12. pizza afterward with our community group.
13. Kelly, for her generous loan of maternity clothes.
14. Ali, for helping knock out a big crazy project at work.
15. a Skype call with our Dominican friends.
16. a burger and fries at Tasty Burger.
17. yoga.
18. a kick.
19. lunch at Chick-fil-A.
20. a trip to the Kohler Signature Store to help us make decisions on our bathroom reno.
21. Sundays at REUNION.
22. Super Cluckin' Sundays, which never disappoint.
23. Soapwalla pregnant belly oil, and Follain for carrying it.
24. a fun office holiday party.
25. a glimpse of our baby via the magic of ultrasound. #itsreallyhappening
26. date night at Stellina.
27. our amazing support network.
28. Shake Shack fries after getting my brows did (because fried potatoes taste SO GOOD right now).
29. a great DR partnership visioning meeting.
30. a slumber party
31. bumping into a good friend when I was down about the snow ruining my plan for the day.
32. our Christmas gift exchange.
33. Ian's deep thoughtfulness in getting me a Kindle.
34. Sweet Cheeks biscuits with honey butter, to go.
35. a neighborhood Christmas party.
36. an extra-fun office holiday party with the site group.
37. talking copyediting at the office.
38. a cooperative baby + a clean bill of health at ultrasound take two (with lots more images!).
39. a good dentist appointment (and getting to share our news with the dentist office!).
40. a quick and easy flight to Kansas City (despite the pain of the early hour).
41. an incredible coffee cake muffin at Second Best.
42. laughs over a great book.
43. some time to rest and relax at Nathan and Sara's place.
44. knocking out some Christmas errands in Manhattan.
45. great quality time with family on the farm.
46. Grandma's potato sausage, dinner rolls, spritz, and strawberry rhubarb pie.
47. not having to drive all the way to Dodge City.
48. chicken fried steak at Nelson's Landing (with Nathan and Sara!).
49. catching up with Jordan, Brittany, and Grace over hot beverages (it's been too long).
50. hanging out with Ian's family.
51. catching up with Britni, my oldest friend, who also happens to be pregnant right now.
52. seeing Ren and Emily (even if it was just for a hot minute).
53. catching a movie with Aunt Susan.
54. Varsity Donuts.
55. getting to see Alli, Austin, and the kids.
56. coffee with Megan.
57. dinner and dessert with Caleb and Kate.
58. Nathan and Sara being gracious about our late night arrival.
59. seeing Karen, Jeremy, and Emma, and talking babies + parenting.
60. a really cool hotel for our anniversary weekend. #lastonebeforeweneedababysitter
61. dinner with Vern and Mark.
62. catching up on The Great American Baking Show.
63. a gem of a breakfast joint to kick off our anniversary right.
64. an afternoon at the Nelson-Atkins (ask us about the toddler who ran into the glass maze wall).
65. an all-out anniversary dinner at the Rieger.
66. the bartender at the Rieger, who mixed up some incredible mocktails.
67. Ian, always, but especially for living with my crazy.
68. nine years of marriage—I wouldn't trade a minute of it.

12.01.2016

thankful list | November 2016

So tired. So happy. #gocubsgo #flytheW #partylikeits1908 #marriedintoit

01. a good discussion at my reflection and planning meeting (i.e. semi-annual review at work).
02. an amazing community group.
03. turning on the Cubs game in the 5th inning to see them leading in Game 6.
04. wearing my Cubs hat at work.
05. an epic Game 7.
06. the improvement in my baseball comprehension, which made the game even more fun/stressful.
07. a broken curse and a Cubs win. #partylikeits1908
08. my Cubs hat, the wearing of which undoubtedly lead to the win. #itsonlycrazyifitdoesntwork
09. hearing Ian's Wrigley/Cubs memories from growing up.
10. an early bedtime after all that late-night game watching.
11. Harry Caray calling the final out in game 7 thanks to the magic of technology (Ian cried).
12. a slow Friday at the office.
13. an office pizza party.
14. REUNION's first ever marriage retreat, which was amazing!
15. homemade cast-iron skillet pizza.
16. a great message at REUNION.
17. not missing Super Cluckin' Sunday sandwiches (the Improper Bostonian made the line long this month).
18. an afternoon of lounging and reading, because we needed it.
19. a copyediting opportunity at work.
20. our community group, because we really needed each other Tuesday night.
21. friendships at work.
22. a reminder from a friend that I can still work to bring God's love and hope here, now.
23. a much needed date night to talk through the last 24 hours and what it means for us.
24. a night babysitting three of our favorite little people.
25. a night of Exploding Kittens with one of my favorite neighbors (thanks, Erin!).
26. after lots of hard work, a cleaned up yard.
27. a great day at REUNION, with the message I needed to hear.
28. time with friends.
29. Ian, especially for being so good at food.
30. successfully making Grandma's dinner rolls.
31. discussing, with our community group, what it means to be a good neighbor.
32. the annual Sasaki Thanksgiving potluck.
33. Cutty's for breakfast.
34. a good appointment.
35. a good copyediting challenge at work.
36. a DR partnership summit/slumber party with good friends.
37. birthday brunch to celebrate our dear friend Emily.
38. seeing her reaction when Brett said they were spending the rest of the weekend in Puerto Rico.
39. a lazy Sunday.
40. a big pile of firewood to get us through the winter (thanks, Ian, for stacking!).
41. finally getting back to yoga.
42. starting the extra long weekend just a little early.
43. a night of dreaming about our next home projects.
44. Ian elevating pasta, red sauce, and ground beef.
45. a few new Christmas things, including two new stockings. #Astridneedsone #planningahead
46. an amazing Friendsgiving.
47. chatting bathroom renovation with the Foxes, who are professional DIYers.
48. decorating for Christmas.
49.  Elf.
50. a beautiful Christmas tree (from Russo's!).
51. our official announcement (special thanks to Sara for being our photographer!).
52. a visit from the Nichols.
53. a husband who takes care of me when I'm under the weather.
54. brunch with an old friend, and meeting a new one.
55. Nutella Fluff ice cream at Toscanini's.
56. a Home Depot trip to look at tile for the bathroom (thanks, Foxes!).
57. Lord of the Rings (the extended version, obvi #nerdalert).
58. a good day at the office.
59. catching up on bookkeeping.
60. progress on bathroom renovation plans: Ian is in his element.
61. that mac and cheese that Ian made.
62. countless congratulations and well wishes.
63. a surprise gift basket at the office (I have the best bosses).
64. Dr. Seuss.
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