The Pipe Lifers
Steve: Husband to Jen, father to Sam and Rachel. He's the pipeliner, the reason The Pipe Life exists. His jobs in pipeline construction and supervision and as a utility inspector have taken him all over the state of Michigan and to Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania and West Virginia for periods of time over the past 16 years. Where he will go next is anyone's guess.
Jen: That's me. Wife and mom. Chief executive of The Pipe Life household. I left the working world in April 2008 to be at home with our children and to work on making our home a more nurturing place for all of us. I hold down the fort and try to keep the home fires burning while Steve is on the road, which is ... oh ... 98 percent of the time. I recently went back to work part-time so I'd have a reason to put on real clothes in the mornings.
Sam: Elder child. Teenager. Creative tinkerer. Intelligent kid. The man of the house when Dad's gone. Perhaps shares too many character traits with me for the two of us to have an always-sunshine-and-roses kind of relationship, but he is a loving young man and has so much potential.
Rachel: The baby girl. All pink and glitter and princesses. She is creative and beautiful and fiercely misses her daddy when he's gone. She will give me a run for my money as she gets older. She loves to cook and bake for others, and even motivates her brother to help now and then. Need a hug? She's your girl.
Current roundup of animals: Gunnar the German shepherd, Whiskers the aloof older cat, and Patch the mouthy orange tabby.
All Together: We're a family. We walk through this life together. Steve and I have dreams about where we want our family to be down the road - next year, in five years, in 10 years - and we do the best we can to work toward those goals and enjoy the journey along the way. We do the best we can for Sam and Rachel and try to model good behaviors for them. We expect a lot from them, and from ourselves, and we lean on each other and trust in God above to give us the tools we need. The Pipe Life is not an easy life, but nobody promised us easy. I'm just glad we get to do this together.