Family

2018 Christmas Letter

December 7, 2018

To our Friends and Family,

As I’m writing this, the fog is gently rolling in and the sky is turning dark as Lindsey and I sit next to a little gas fireplace listening to Christmas music in a farmhouse B&B in Poulsbo, Washington. A last-minute weekend get-away to escape a somewhat stressful week and recharge before the busy holidays. In many ways this trip mimics the path our year has taken, busy with some unexpected twists and turns but in the end drawing us closer together. After a year and a half of marriage, we have discovered that we are more in love than ever and provide much needed support to each other. We always find that spending time together recharges our batteries, clears our mind, and gives us hope for the future!

We have tried to update our blog (fettigfarm.com) as often as we remember with our various adventures and news about our farm, house, and life, but here is a recap of all the happenings in 2018 for the Nice family.

In January we took an amazing trip with Lindsey’s parents, brother, and sister-in-law to Iceland. While it may seem a little counterintuitive to visit someplace like Iceland in the dead of winter, it was actually very pleasant and only snowed on our final day in the country. Outside of the capital of Reykjavik, Iceland was rather rural with rolling hills dotted with sheep and horses rising to snowcapped peaks and massive glaciers. While exploring the historic shops and tourist stops in Reykjavik was fun, some of our most memorable days were our exploring the countryside, visiting waterfalls and glaciers, and spending time together watching movies or doing puzzles. Restaurants are expensive in Iceland so we tried to cook our own meals wherever we were stopped for the night. This sometimes proved equally as challenging as the island food supply in winter doesn’t lend itself well to fresh homemade vegetarian meals. The night before we came home, we had a very neat opportunity to visit the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal pool, spending several hours in the warm mineral water, visiting the in-pool bar stocked with smoothies and soft drinks, and trying some fun mineral mud face masks. Overall it was an amazing experience, and a country that would be fun to visit again.

We barely had time to recover from our January vacation, and Lindsey was whisking me off again, this time on a surprise birthday weekend to Whidbey Island. Our journey began, sipping hot chocolate on the ferry to the island, watching the birds and seals as we cut through the water. We spent a couple days exploring the area, watched a movie at a drive-in theater, found a great place for dinner called “Christopher’s”, and finished our trip by driving north over Deception Pass taking the scenic route home. I share a birthday month with Lindsey’s great-aunt Evelynn, whom we visited in Woodland, California for her 90thbirthday party. A lot of travel for one month but it was great to see so many friends and family.

February also marked a big change in our living situation. We finished the sale of our house in Tacoma and moved to a small apartment in Bonney Lake, closer to the farm we are working to restore. We had attempted to live in an RV at the farm for a while, but between problems with water, septic, and heat, we felt that an apartment would be better for living and working while still allowing us to be closer to the property than our house in Tacoma.

The farm restoration has continued to drag on and has certainly been one of the biggest sources of stress this year. After going back and forth with several contractors and engineers last year, we finally felt like we were getting somewhere when we found a company that would reinforce and level the existing foundation. While we waited to move forward with the foundation, we had a home designer work on some final plans, had the property surveyed, had a septic engineer design a new septic system, and we spent many, many days continuing to clear out trash and brush. We also hired a local company to clear all the blackberries from our overgrown pasture and finally managed to find a towing company that would remove an abandoned car left on our property. In April we added bees to our farm to go with the three chickens we acquired the previous fall from my sister and nephew. We also acquired thirteen new baby chicks this year to add to our flock. Every day we were seeing the fruits of our labor as flowers began to bloom, the yard began to fill in, and it looked like the farm was finally coming to life. Our excitement was stifled as we entered summer when a new group of contractors felt like our decision to repair the foundation was the wrong one and stated that it would be faster and less expensive to build a new house from scratch. We went back to our home designer to come up with a new plan that now included an expanded house footprint and a garage with an apartment above it. We felt that if we were going to build new, we might as well build everything we ever wanted in a home and future proof it as much as possible. Unfortunately, we found out that our original plan was going to be more than we’d budgeted for, so we re-worked it to be just slightly bigger than the existing house. We have room on the property to expand in the future, but for now we want to get this project done as soon as possible and within budget.

Summer was a whirlwind that came and went far too fast. Lindsey added some new classes to her workload for the Nursing Department in addition to her classes with the Marriage and Family Therapy Department and organization of school’s teaching clinic. In addition, she was busy writing and editing a book with a PLU colleague, and somehow found time to travel to California to help her brother and sister-in-law on some house projects before they put their house on the market. We did find time to take three trips together during the summer. Our first trip was to Washington DC, which was a work trip for Lindsey, meeting with Washington representatives on behalf of the Washington Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. But we did have several days after her meetings to explore Washington DC in one of the most beautiful times of the year. Two of our favorite stops were the Museum of American History and the Museum of African-American History. Our second trip of the summer was for our one-year anniversary. We planned a fun excursion around the Olympic Peninsula, ending in the tiny town of Seabeck. We stayed in a beautiful studio that sat right on the sound. It was so relaxing to just curl up on the couch sipping coffee and watching the sunset across the water. In a post about our anniversary on our blog, I commented that in our first year of marriage we purchased a house, started a remodel, sold a house, bought a bus and RV, moved multiple times, acquired new farm animals, and most recently discovered that we are having a baby. And yet somehow through all that craziness Lindsey and I feel stronger and closer than ever. Our last trip was to Austin, Texas for an American Family Therapy Academy conference and then to Waco for Lindsey’s birthday. Both of us are fans of the show Fixer Upper and it was so fun to see the Magnolia silos, travel around to some of the homes featured on the show, and explore a surprisingly beautiful part of Texas. We attempted to eat at the Magnolia restaurant, but the wait time was several hours. We settled for some cupcakes at the Magnolia bakery and then ended our trip with a visit to In-N-Out for some grilled cheese animal style burgers.

We had one last trip of the summer in August to Colorado with Lindsey’s family. We visited Lindsey’s grandparents old house in Cortez, stayed at a mountain ranch cabin without electricity for several days, took a dip in the hot springs pool in Ouray, walked around Telluride, took several Jeeping trips up into the mountains, had a fun evening at the “Bar-D” chuckwagon in Durango, and took the old restored train from Durango to Silverton. It was a jam-packed trip full of fun memories and beautiful scenery. We saw tons of wildlife including a mama moose with her baby.

When we returned from our trip to Colorado, we found out that we were having a baby of our own! This was by far the highlight of the year and has consumed the past few months. We were so excited to share the news right away but also nervous because the risk of miscarriage increases in your 30s. It was so incredibly exciting to see our healthy baby on the ultrasound for the first time and start preparing to meet our new little one in April 2019. We recently found out that we are having a girl, which is what Lindsey has always wanted. The first trimester wasn’t easy on Lindsey, with bad morning sickness and constant nausea around the clock. Heading into the second trimester, the nausea has gotten better although certain foods and smells are still triggering. It has been so much fun heading into the holidays to start looking at clothes, toys, and baby gear to add to our wishlist. Lindsey and my mom found some cute clothes the other day at Goodwill and Lindsey is hoping to work on some sewing projects with her mom over the holidays making baby clothes, blankets, and accessories. Despite the nausea, the extra added stress of trying to finish the farm renovation before baby, and the many doctor visits, we are so thankful and so excited to expand our family. The love and support we have received so far from friends and family has been incredible and we know our daughter will have a whole community lifting her up. We have already started thinking about baby’s first Christmas next year and all the exciting updates we will be able to include in next year’s Christmas letter.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my parents in Husum, Washington at our Bed and Breakfast and are headed to Seal Rock, Oregon to spend time with Lindsey’s family for Christmas. We are also excited to see my sister and her family in a couple weeks and see my nephew’s first ever ballet performance in the Nutcracker. We are so blessed to have so many friends and family close by and are excited to be able to spend the holidays with loved ones. Our hearts also go out to the many lives that were impacted by the recent devastating fires in California including Lindsey’s Aunt and Uncle who lost their home in Paradise, California. If you know someone that was affected by the fire, in addition to your thoughts and prayers, please find ways to support them and help rebuild as we enter the season of love and giving. God bless, and we hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Love,

Aaron, Lindsey, and Baby (coming April 2019)

+ Fen, 15 chickens, and about 30,000 honey bees

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