Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ho Ho Ho and Stuff!

Well, I had full intention of getting my Christmas cards out the door and on their way to your doorstep. I had the envelopes addressed, stamped and even stuffed with this letter. It soon became overwhelming to me though that we had over 100 people to send Christmas cards to and so I easily gave up (lame sauce..) I decided that I still wanted to send a letter but thought that sending a Christmas card now would be kind of  dumb. I was talking to my physical therapist and she said she has a family that just sends her an e-mail of their Christmas letter so I decided I would just make a blog post and post it on your walls! :) So Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year..................................a little late! Now I know why someone came up with the phrase, "better late than never!" ;)

Dear Friends and Family,
We are proud to announce the arrival of our first Christmas card! I am so excited to update you on what Matthew and I have been up to this year. So many things have come and gone in the year of 2011 and is a year we can certainly say we are eager to say good-bye to.
In December of 2010 Matt and I officially bought our first house! We are located in beautiful metropolis area we like to call Garden City. The city of garden is a mystical place buzzing with sparkly meadows, whispering wildflowers and beautifully flowing chocolate rivers. We sure do love it here! Care packages can be sent to:
(I took my address offline - e-mail or Facebook me if you'd like my new address!)
Anyways, we bought this house last December and it needed some heavy remodeling. With the help of our parents and a couple of close friends we were able to do all of the work (minus electrical/plumbing/mudding) to build this house into our home! It was about 7 solid months of no free weekends which I can say from personal experience is not too fun for a 21 year old...or any age group really.
We’ve been asked several times if we knew how much work our house would have been if we’d do it over again. The answer is always yes! Matt has room to tinker around in the out buildings and shelter belts doing boy stuff and it’s the same area I grew up so it feels like home.  We enjoy living near our families. You know in high school when I said I couldn’t wait to get out of the town I grew up in? Well, I live 1.4 miles north of my parent’s and about 7 miles south from Matt’s parents! We all live on 432nd Avenue in three different zip codes. (Clark, Garden City, Bradley). Never a dull moment here!
In January, I left Jimmy John’s and started in a verifying position doing background screenings with Verifications, Inc. in Watertown. I truly love this job! It keeps me interested and is flexible enough to allow me to attend school at Mount Marty College.  Please, don’t ask what my major is…after 4 years I’m still not sure. At this rate I will have a Bachelor’s in almost every subject offered. Matthew recently left his position with WW Tire in Watertown and accepted a job with Westside Implement in Clark.
February 18th, Matt proposed. To my surprise, I came home from work to find Matt in a suit (complete with boutonni√®re) and our house covered in rose petals and candles. He and I aren’t exactly sure what he said when he was down on his knee but the nervousness in his voice was adorable. I’m not sure if he thought I was going to say no but he hadn’t ate the entire day and could barely speak when giving his little schpeel. Anyways, I said yes and now my dream of marrying my knight in camouflage armor will take place on September 14th, 2013. Mark your calendars!!
To our dismay, the following Friday our dear friend, Thomas Bjerke, passed away. To say the least, it has been extremely tough and tiresome for Matt and I and all of Thomas’ friends and family. We are doing our best to keep the memories close to our heart and take with us the lesson of how fragile life can be. We miss him more and more every day.
We spent the following months trying to trudge through our pain by working hard to finish our house. Through February, March and April we were painting, adding carpet and trim, appliances being delivered, etc. Mid-May the inside was complete and we began tearing off siding and then re-siding. I got the extremely fun and important job of hauling and stacking all the old rotten siding onto trailer beds. My family and fianc√© don’t trust me too much with a hammer and nails – even though I am a Carpenter. J
After our house was complete we spent the summer settling in. We set up a fairly large swimming pool, planted some trees, went fishing, barbecued, etc. We knew fall would be hectic with school starting and hunting/trapping so we spent a lot of time at home enjoying our new space and of course, each other.
We anticipated hunting season to be hard without Thomas who not only was Matt’s best friend but his fellow die-hard hunting buddy. All those times Matt and Thomas thought it was so funny to irritate me by waking me at 4am with their goose calls was something I never imagined would be something I missed, but I surely do. I’m very happy Matt continues to go hunting because it’s a past time he and Thomas loved to do and made so many memories doing so.
Another hard loss for me and my family came in late fall when my grandpa, Rod Valentine, passed away due to cancer.  It was another one of life’s sobering reminders that our time on Earth is far too short. I’ve learned to really try to spend each day like it’s my last because as my grandpa said, “There’s something they don’t make more of and that is time.” What a simple, yet powerful statement and words I will keep dear to my heart.
So this Christmas season and the upcoming New Year I hope you keep in mind how precious your life and your loved ones lives are. Try to flash a smile and kinds words to someone who needs it, attempt to end every phone conversation with your loved ones with, “I love you!” and strive to end each day thankful to God for all He has blessed you with. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

With Love,
Brandi Carpenter and Matt Lenzen

Matt and I in Las Vegas for my 21st!

Walleye Princess - Summer 2011

Early December 2011

It's standard to include a picture of your engagement ring, right!? :)  

Matt Dove hunting - Brandi photographer

Workin' hard or hardly workin'?

The backside of the house before - new windows and filling in the rotting door already done.

Dad and Matt nailing on the last piece of siding! Very exciting and relieving moment for all!!

Backside of the house after!

Date night and silly picture of us from the New Year! :)

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