December 1997

Dear Friends and Family,

Greeting from the Grose clan. Carrie, Alex, Stephanie, and I want to wish every one of you the most heartfelt wishes for a wonderful Christmas season and pray that God will continue to shower your lives with joy just as He has done ours.

This year has basically been split into two very different parts with good times and less-than-good times in each part. But with the help of God, Carrie and I have made the best of the gifts the Lord has bestowed upon us.

The first part of the year saw me still in school, finishing up my degree. In June, I graduated the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in Technical Communication and on the same day, received a commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. The very next day, Carrie and I renewed our wedding vows with a full-blown wedding. We felt that after almost ten years, it was time to do it right this time; with all of our loving family in attendance. The celebration was spectacular and the outpouring of love was incredible. We will have to do it all again in another ten years!!

After a few weeks off, I was off to the Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, for six months without Carrie and the kids. The school, a requirement for every Marine Corps officer regardless of specialty, has very intense mental and physical demands but the separation has been the hardest part. God has blessed me with the opportunity to excel in the school and I am able to come home for a couple of weeks during the holidays. The training consists of everything a Marine officer must know from tactics and strategy to the administrative aspects of military leadership. At the completion of this course in March, I will hopefully start the data processing / communication school here in Virginia for another six months. No one ever said the Marine Corps sent you out there uneducated!

Carrie has been busy back in Seattle keeping our house together and taking care of the kids without my daily help. She has the support of our loving family and enjoys spending a lot of time with all of the Schramms. She volunteers to help in Alex’s preschool and keeps busy with her workouts and sports. Strong and positive, she works very hard in a difficult situation without me there. In addition to all of this, she sends me email and keeps my spirits up with packages and phonecalls. She is my long-distance motivator!

Alex, who will be 6 in February, is now in kindergarten. Carrie says he loves school and played soccer in the fall. The little monkey-head is a natural fullback or defender.  He is going to be playing basketball in January, and Carrie adds that he is more like his dad everyday. He tells me he is looking forward to my coming home so we can, “go to Chuck E. Cheeses and we can make waffles together.” When asked what he wants to do when he grows up, his response consists of making french fries at McDonalds. You can imagine our heart-swelling pride.

Stephanie, now 3,  is in preschool two days a week which she feels isn't enough.  She is turning into a sweet little girl and is keeping all her curls.  She likes to mother her little dolls, but at the same time can be just as active and rough as her brother.  Where Alex is a carbon copy of me, Carrie thinks Steph resembles her mom in personality and strength (and I will add beauty to that list). She is looking forward to my return because she wants me to, “see our new pretty house.”

While it has been extremely hard being apart, Carrie and I are growing stronger than ever and looking forward to our Christmas together.  God is getting us through as he always does. With His help and your continued support, Carrie and I look forward to the coming year which will see our reunion and the beginning of the next phase in our lives. We pray that your upcoming year is looking just as special. We will continue to keep in touch and look forward to hearing about the special moments in your life.

        God Bless,
      Jason, Carrie, Alex, Stephanie, and Sidney the Cat