We have a magical house. Everyone notices it's much larger inside than it looks from the outside. Every room has a story, from our computer-filled den to the sunporch where our three cats snooze on warm spring days. Jeanette's lavender scents the entire yard.
With three finished levels, our 1936 house features lots of nooks for a child to make forts, build Lego worlds, play with Jeanette's childhood dollhouse, or just curl up with a book. The kitchen is really Steve's domain, but Jeanette borrows it to bake our bread each week. Our open kitchen-dining room allows Steve to cook while we chat with guests at the table.
Our diverse suburban neighborhood feels like a small town. We walk to nearly everything: grocery store, post office, bank, pharmacy, cafe, and a great Italian deli. Many weekends, we don't get in the car. Several families with small children live on our block, and everyone knows each other. Playgrounds and a pool are just a short walk or drive away. Our community association sponsors many family events, including a cute Halloween parade and a neighborhood Christmas tree lighting.
Living near Washington, D.C., means we are also near free museums, a world-class zoo (pandas!), and historic sites. We recently got to treat Steve's parents to a night of jubilant Celtic music at the Kennedy Center. And we're only three hours away from the beach!
We both loved growing up in large families, with lots of aunts and uncles and especially cousins of all ages to play with. Even today, every family gathering is a huge affair.
Every Thanksgiving or Christmas, we drive out to Kansas to visit Jeanette's family. We catch up with her cousins and their kids, compete to see who remembers lines from "A Christmas Story," and eat large quantities of turkey, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole. Jeanette's aunts even let Steve make the gravy now! Jeanette and her 11-year-old niece, Tori, get to make arts and crafts with stickers and markers. Our tradition of taking Jeanette's grandparents out for lunch makes a special memory every trip.
We live just two hours from Steve's family, so we get to see them often. With Steve's parents we cook big meals for family get-togethers, and sometimes we drive through Pennsylvania Dutch country to buy mushrooms and take pictures of the green, pristine Amish farms. Steve has two nephews who love to use Steve as a trampoline. Steve goes deep sea or surf fishing with his dad and brother on beach trips. And we always volunteer to be the grill cooks at Steve's yearly family reunion picnic -- that way, we get to talk to his 40-plus relatives when they come up for hot dogs, brats, and burgers.
Our families can't wait to welcome a new child. More children means more love!
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