2014 Recap: Merry Christmas Letter

IMG_1882As I sat down to write this annual letter, January 2014 seemed so long ago that I found myself rechecking notes on calendars and photos on my camera to make sure I was remembering things that actually happened THIS year.  Many memories seemed so long ago, yet this year whizzed by so quickly. For the record, I have no idea how other Moms find the time to take professional holiday photos, order them on Christmas cards, and mail them out.  I’m thankful to receive them in the mail but it always increases that feeling that I’m really failing at the bare minimum of Mom holiday duties.  Furthermore, I should be able to get a year-end letter sent out by December 31… but obviously not.

We began 2014 somewhat mellow.  As I headed into my 2nd semester in Graduate school, Charlie and I decided it would be a good idea to attempt Operation reconnect for the coming year, you can read about that here.  Charlie took a Fly Fishing trip with my Dad at the end of January in the San Juan. Tee-ball started in March and Charlie coached Gentry’s team again.

In April during Gentry’s two week Spring Break, we took a trip with the children and Charlies Mom to Kauai (Hawaii) for a celebration of many things in our lives, including my birthday.  The children had a great time playing on the beach, checking out huge sea turtles, and catching geckos.  We were also able to catch up with Charlies friends, Chris & Laura and their boys.  It was hard to come back to reality.

In May, my youngest brother, Cody, graduated from highschool.  Congrats to him on all the hard work but that made me feel old.  LOL! Gentry’s first year of Kindergarten also came to an end in May and immediately, the children and I took a road trip to Phoenix to visit my brother Aaron’s family and our friends, the Cepeda Family.  It was a wonderful trip with lots of play time with the cousins, lots of sun time, and water play.   The children didn’t want to leave.  Two days later we flew to San Antonio, Texas to meet up with Charlie where he was for work.  We stayed with our friends The Holland family and had dinner on the Riverwalk.  The children loved their visit with little Sophia and Jack jr.  The next day my twin sister drove in from Austin and we all floated the river in New Braunfels, TX.  We then stayed with her in Austin for a few nights and she showed us the sights/sounds/food/comedy scene there.  It was fun catching up with her and finally seeing where she was living since last August.  I’ve missed my sister.  On our last day in Austin, the children and I drove to La Grange, TX to visit with Charlies brother Matt’s family.  The children had a blast with their cousins playing in the mud pond and on the 4-wheelers chasing cows.  It was short but very sweet.

Trying to make the summer a fun and unique experience for the children since it was likely going to be my only summer off work EVER, I embarked on what I called “Camp Tomlin” for the summer.  We invited their friends over for water play days, went to the zoo, went bowling, botanical gardens, library, aquarium, parks, visits to old friends, roller skating, hiking at the top of the Sandias, 4th of July in Ruidoso (Indian Maiden parade, the Flying J Ranch, and the outdoor swimming pool), and the children seemed to love all the adventures.  I also sent them to three different 1/2 day week long Vacation Bible Schools over the summer, just so that they would stay somewhat socialized and not get too bored with my lame attempts at keeping them entertained & educated.  They raved about all of their VBS experiences.

In June, we weren’t expecting to find our forever home but a series of events led us to find it 6 days into being put on the market.  We put in an offer and closed on it on July 29th.  It’s in the east mountains, about 15 minutes from our current city house but feels like a world away.  I have never seen Charlie so happy before.  He is just in love with it, I call it his “mistress” because he’s always sneaking away to spend every spare minute with “her”, fixing her up, making her his own, and creating his own barn “man cave”/workshop.  We plan on making a full-time commitment to living there in May 2015 when I don’t have late night classes/drives 4 nights a week and Haven isn’t in preschool across town.  We decided stirring up our routine wouldn’t be good thing for the children while I’m out of the picture on most evenings due to school.

Also in June, my Dad had a “Celebration of Life” party, it was full of family and friends (old and new) and it was great to see my brother Marcus who drove down from Beaver Creek, Colorado and my sister Yvonne who came in from Austin. In mid-August we celebrated Gentry & Haven’s 6th & 4th birthdays with a Jemez camping sleepover that turned into a home backyard movie night/sleepover.  They had a great time with their friends. We wrapped up the summer fun in September when Charlies Mom Margaret came to visit and we did the State Fair with her and the children really enjoyed having Grandma around.

In September, I began my 2nd required internship at Children, Youth, & Families Department (CYFD) in the Child protective services department where I will be working till May 2015 when I graduate (& beyond).  It has been an eye-opening experience to say the least.  I could have never imagined the degree to which people neglect and abuse their own children.  I’m trying to make sense of this, finding mental balance is definitely something that I have yet to master.  However, I have to say that I’ve loved the job so far. It’s challenging but actually feels like good worthwhile work which is exactly what I’ve been longing for.

In December, Charlie took a trip to Las Vegas for a few nights to decompress and have some adult fun (nightclubbing, gambling, relaxing) with his friends.  They had too much fun.  I also took a trip at the end of December with my girlfriend Julia. We roadtripped to the West coast, visiting friends in Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, and finishing in Las Vegas.  It was a great way to end the year, to celebrate and release 2014.

As we begin 2015, I will begin my last semester of Graduate school (yippee!!!).  Charlie continues to be blessed and fulfilled at his job and his many home projects keep him happy.  The children are doing wonderful, and they are excited to attend the same elementary school in August (I can’t believe Haven will be starting Kindergarten!!).  They are really enjoying the new home as often as we are there and they cannot wait to make the move up there.

We hope this letter finds you and your family happy and healthy going into 2015.  Many blessings!

Love,

The Tomlins

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2014 Operation Reconnect

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As a New Years resolution in 2014, Charlie and I vowed to re-ignite the spark of solo couple time at least once a month in the form of unique date nights.  Like in 2012, the rules were to alternate months of who planned and executed each date night and to not repeat previous date nights within the 12 months.  Our hopes were high to be able to get more creative with each date but due to hectic schedules we quickly defaulted to the path of least effort.  Here is what we ended up with by the end of 2014:

January:  Dinner and drinks at Vintage 423 with NMSU friends
February:  Dinner and ‘Lone Survivor’ movie (so original right?)
March:  Bailed on the Glow Run for dinner and drinks at the Stumbling Steer
April:  Future Fund “Mad Men Party”
May:  FAIL (Sold tix for comedian Jim Gaffigan due to multiple conflicting travels)
June: Game Night at Christi’s House with NMSU friends (Cards Against Humanity)
July: Old Town Creative Studios painting and vino night / Future Fund Lagers on the Links
August:  Bathtub datenight in the east mountain house
September: FAIL
October: Gas Balloon Race awards dinner & Ghattas Halloween party
November: A Red Carpet Affair at Gertrude Zachary mansion / Geeks Who Drink NMSU event
December: Dirty Bourbon Dancing for Mireyas Birthday

In addition to planning our unique couples time each month, we also wanted to make sure the children had unique and fun experiences each month too.  This is what we planned or rather, what fell into our lap:

January:  Birthday Sleepover at Sophia’s house
February: Stars Soccer Clinic
March:  evening at Explora with Gentry’s school
April: Hawaii/Kauai vacation
May: Road trip to Phoenix / Trip to San Antonio/Austin
June: Zoo Music with The Nagyvary family
July:: Bowling with The Cambara’s / Flying J Ranch in Ruidoso
August: Backyard birthday sleepover / Jemez camping with Grandpa
September: Sandia Labs Family Day / State fair
October:  Madi’s birthday at Monkey Mania
November: Reed’s birthday at Hinkle Family Fun Center
December:  Olivia’s birthday at Gravity Park

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