Sunday, December 21, 2008


Dear Friends and Family (and lurkers who read my blog and don't leave comments :o),

This is our official Christmas letter. If you are reading this entry you are either a frequent reader of my blog, got our Christmas postcard and checked this address out, or happened upon my blog from another blog. Welcome! Please note that I do not usually use our family's real names to protect their privacy, and if you are reading after January 15 their names have been removed. There are many places you can click to see more information...hang on, this is a L O N G post!
This was a big year for our family. Two of the biggest things for 2008 were having Baby J, and starting Financial Peace University.
Winter 2008 brought lots of beautiful snow! Snug posed for a few pictures but...

...he also fell quite a bit seems how he learned to walk just a couple of months earlier. Chester did his best to help him, being a snow dog and all!

March came in like a lion, but definitely went out like a lamb. Here is one of my favorite pictures from 2008...unfortunately that scrape on Snug's nose was also his first scar (many more to come, I'm sure!)
Snug got his new big boy bed...and see that paci in his mouth? He gave it up on his own a couple of days after this picture was taken.

All dressed up for Easter Sunday.

Watching a Cedarville University baseball game at Dayton Dragon's stadium. These boys guys love to play and watch ball!

If only our grass looked this nice all summer! Snug loves to play outside and pick dandelions. We had very little rain this summer, so by the end our grass looked a little more like the Sahara than this!
Memorial Day bubbles with Grandmommy.

Uncle Nathan got to come for Memorial Day too! He and my parents were on their way back from a wedding.

Softball is a big part of our spring...summer...and fall! Snug absolutely loves watching daddy play. #1 still loves his job as a police officer and is now a certified fitness trainer. He enjoys working out daily...and is trying to motivate me :o)
Here is a photo of #1's team at their Virginia Beach tournament.

A family photo at the Richmond Zoo. We had such a nice day at this zoo...and it was an unexpected part of our trip. Our flight was at 8:00pm not am. So we had 12 hours to kill and a beautiful zoo to explore.

Snug is feeding a giraffe! What a treat!

After a few weeks of bed rest it was time for Baby J to be born! He weighed 7 lbs 1 oz, 21 inches long. Snug loves being a big brother, and helps take very good care of him.

Baby J had many visitors come see him at the hospital. Here he is with Uncle Daniel.

Welcome to the family Baby J!

Baby J posed in daddy's softball glove, just like Snug did 2 years ago.

We spent most of July hanging out in the backyard. #1 even got in on the pool action!
We also had lots of out of town visitors to see Baby J. My mom and dad came a few times, and of course "Pop Pop" helped us fix a few things around the house.

My Aunt Beth, cousin Katie, and her four children came to visit when Baby J was a few weeks old. I love how Daniel is making the same face as Jack (and that he is wearing a Michigan shirt!).

Aunt Carol from Michigan came too. Her grandkids (and their parents!) go to church with us, but this was the first time they met Baby J. We miss our out of town friends and family, but really love our local friends and many are like family.

Hi there! This is Snug. I am going to take over my mom's letter and share some of my thoughts for 2008. This year I learned to walk, talk, run, ride my tricycle (with help), jump, swim, use the potty, and charm everyone. Ok, I've been doing that last one since I was very small, but I haven't lost my touch. I enjoy having kids here everyday to play with, visiting the library, eating, and I LOVE going to church. I like to color, play with my cars and trains, and I LOVE everything that has anything to do with sports. If you want to keep up with me as I grow, visit this blog and maybe that will happen...I'm growing fast!

For those of you who don't know these two, they are Brent and Doneda. They are Snug and Baby J's godparents (I don't think that needs a capital...not sure) and good friends of ours. They are the ones who started us on our Financial Peace journey this year. They (of course) also came to see Baby J. Thank you to everyone who came out to meet Baby J, help while I was on bed rest, and brought meals. We appreciate it very much.
In August a softball tournament brought us to Michigan and we made the most of it! It coincided with Aunt Jane returning from Africa, and Uncle Nathan and Aunt Danielle were visiting also. Please know that we I forced Jenny and Grandmommy a few people to take this shot, but we had a great African dinner while we were there.
Snug turned 2 in August...and I still can't believe it. We had a party at our house in Ohio, and then another one in Michigan. Now if you ask him "Snug, how are you?" he will answer as if you had asked "Snug how old are you?" with a hearty "I two!". If you ask how old he is, he is likely to tell you he is 3 or 4...because he would really like to be just like the other kids I babysit for.
We got to see lots of family at Snug's second birthday/welcome home Aunt Jane/get to visit with Nathan and Danielle party. This is my cousin Crystal with Baby J...who slept (he spent the first two months sleeping).
Uncle Nathan and Aunt Danielle
Big brother and going to be bigger than him little brother

The fall brought some big surprises for us, and we were very glad for our "emergency fund". We had a hurricane (yes, you read that correctly) that left us without electricity for a week. During this time we got to know our neighbors and found out Snug can work like nobody's business! And we do have the best neighbors in the world!

Our "new kitchen"

Some of our storm damage. We were so blessed, many people had limbs on their homes and a few were killed.

And this was our other fall surprise. Halloween night I hit a deer (or did it hit me?). Everyone was fine, but we went through quite an ordeal and learned that we really cannot get away with one car. Thank you to all our friends and family that helped us through this situation also!

Here is a nicer Halloween picture. Snug needed a haircut, but insisted he keep his "pike". I gave him a makeshift mohawk that we actually liked, and we are not normally mohawk people. #1 says it "fits his personality". When we eventually cut it off, he cried. He still asks for it and it is weeks later...we'll see...

Baby J's baby dedication was also in October. We love our church and are so blessed to have many people there who love and care for our children.
Snug, Baby J, and I got to go to my cousin Kevin and his new wife Rachel's wedding reception in October. They were married in July, but had a lovely reception for those of us who didn't get to go. (You know, those of us who had just had a baby!) This picture is of my cousin Melissa's two boys with ours. Jayce is almost four months younger than Snug, and Grayson is about 2 months younger than Baby J.

(Snug here again...are you still reading this? My mom is soooo long winded! This is another of my mom's favorite pictures. See how nice I am sitting with my brother?)

The Ohio State vs. Michigan game is a 'holiday' in the Dray household. #1 has been partying alot more than I have been in the past few years, but we still enjoy the day. We enjoyed the game with our neighbors the Castles this year (thanks guys!)
In December we became debt free. It was a lot of work, but God has blessed us richly this year, and we hope we can in turn, be a blessing to others. If you want to know how on earth we did this with the current economy, please ask us, or visit
Merry Christmas!
The Drays


Jess said...

Since I am not one of those who leaves comments on your blog, I thought I would today! Looks like a great year!! I love all the pics! Your boys are beautiful!Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Kim said...

Thanks for the reminders Jenney! It was fun re-living it with you and you do have 2 beautiful (it's okay at this age!) boys! We missed your family at the family Christmas gathering yesterday. Things sure change with the new little ones at the parties. I love you and wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!
Aunt Kim

Anonymous said...

What a great Christmas letter! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!!
Dan, Lindsey and Jackson

CrysRich said...

What a good idea to put your Christmas letter on your blog! Thank you for sharing. We love and miss you all!

Lindsley said...

Cute pics! I'm not a lurker...but your blog frog NEVER shows that I visit...and I do visit! I love the giraffe pic..looks like the giraffe is eating Snugs hand!

Have a great Christmas Blog Friend!

MELISSA said...

Merry Christmas Jenney! It was fun to see your year in review! What a great year for you guys. I hope 2009 will be even better! :)