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Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013 in Review

I think I can speak for Aaron and myself when I saw that 2013 has been the hardest and the best of our lives so far. Adding a child to our family has brought us unimaginable joy. And a little frustration :) Learning to be parents is a tough gig, but this little munchkin makes us laugh and smile every day.

We began this year in Suffolk, Va after Aaron finished a short design school in Schenectady, NY. He then began his new job of Engineer of a PCU (pre commissioned unit). This was his shore tour so although there have been some long days, he still has been home every night. We began the discussion about whether to continue in the Navy, or to get out and pursue another career path. Aaron decided to look into a lateral transfer from submarines to an Engineering Duty Officer position. (More on that later.)

In February we were blessed with a new addition named Elijah David. He was 8 lbs 3 ounces. You can read more about his birthday here. We settled in at home and spent the next few months sorting out breastfeeding, naps, and how to make grocery store trips as quick as possible. Since I could fill an entire post of recaps of just him: I did. I will :)

We were lucky enough to get both sets of grandparents (and one Uncle) to come visit a couple of weeks after Eli was born. Sharing in the joy of his addition to both of our families has been such a blessing.

In August, Eli and I flew out to Washington for my family's annual gathering. This was Eli's first plane ride and trip away from home. He was such a trooper on the looong travel day which involved a plane, a boat and a car. During that visit we also drove down to Portland for Uncle Matt's wedding to Mia Hall. We had such a great time seeing family and just being back "home". This was the first year without Grandpa Roger and it was so nice to have so many people out there to celebrate his life and contribution to the homestead.

In November, Aaron turned his role of ENG over to his replacement. He will be acting XO for a short while. This fall he applied and was selected to be an Engineering Duty Officer (EDO). I'm still not entirely sure what that means other than he will no longer be only on submarines and there will be no deploying (woo hoo!). His next step is more grad school which we are mostly sure is going to be at the Naval Post Grad school in Monterey, California. At this time we are looking at a move date this summer.

I have been riding intermittently and looking forward to getting back to doing more when my schedule allows. Mostly, I miss teaching. I became a USHJA certified trainer last year before moving and hope to continue on a part time basis. Recently I decided to become an independent consultant with Arbonne. I'm very excited about this all natural skincare company and the long term possibilities which will allow me to stay home with Eli. I am thoroughly enjoying being a stay at home mom and am blessed with the opportunity to do so.

We are getting ready to fly to Minnesota for Eli's first Christmas. We are so excited to be able to celebrate it with both sides of the family together. There will definitely be a post coming on that. Overall this has been an amazing year and we have nothing but excitement about the years to come.

Love to all our friends and family.

The Coudrays
Aaron, Whitney, and Eli

Monday, December 9, 2013

In Memory of Roger N Miller

Today marks a year after my grandpa Roger passed away, I thought I would gather some of my favorite pictures and his famous Carbonara recipe to honor him today. 

Roger Miller, a faithful and loving husband, father and grandfather, died at home on Bainbridge Island, WA at the age of 87 on December 9th, 2012.
 He was born August 30th, 1925, the third of four sons of Dena Sturman Miller and Clinton Leslie Miller, in Coeur d’Alene, ID where he was raised. Upon graduating from Coeur d’Alene High School in 1943, Roger joined the Navy V-5 Pilot program, completed flight training in December 1945 and then served on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Leyte, flying the last prop-driven fighters. He joined a Naval Reserve Fighter Squadron while attending the University of Washington. In 1952, he left the Reserve about the same time that he earned his BS in Mining Engineering. On September 9th, 1950, he married Carolyn Rae Fritz in Bremerton, WA. They were married for 62 years, raising five sons and following his career from coast to coast and back. He began his mining career 22 miles up a trail, by horse, in the North Cascades outside Omak, WA. Later they moved to Gouverneur, NY; to a mine camp above Healdsburg, CA; then to Memphis, TN where he was Vice President/Production at Buckman Laboratories. In 1965 they moved to Burlington, VT and later Norwich, VT where he worked the last 25 years of his career as president of Windsor Minerals, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that made baby powder and industrial talc products.There, the family was active in the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College for more than 20 years. He was president of the Associated Industries of Vermont from 1982-1984 and brought his unique perspective as an industrialist and an outdoorsman to the four terms he served on Vermont’s statewide Land Use Board from 1978 through 1990.Roger and Carolyn retired to Bainbridge Island, WA in 1990, where Roger maintained a career of fixing, restoring, and building: idiosyncratic sailing scows, traditional dories and cedar canoes; Model A Fords; Datsun roadsters, and John Deere tractors. When skiing, back-packing, hunting, fishing and sailing became too physically demanding, he found new passions. He reconstructed the Fritz family Clallam County homestead, traveled in Europe, and at the end of his life built table tops of Sequoia salvaged from the homestead. For Roger, there was always a project and a multitude of passions.  He is survived by Carolyn Miller, sons Matthew (fiancĂ©e, Mia) of Portland, OR; Todd (Deanna) of Boise, ID; Bradford (Rebecca) of Portland, OR; Kirk (Donna) of Helena, MT; and Dean (Tracie) Stony Brook, NY; and 12 grandchildren, his younger brother Phillip Miller (Irene) of Dewey, AZ  and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Clinton Miller and Donald Miller.

Shooting off fireworks after the funeral
Grandsons Ira and Stewart in Grandpas suit and sweater

                            The last time I visited I asked for his recipe, I was so blessed by this time together as it happened to be the last time I saw him.