2015 Recap ~ Christmas in July letter

IMG_0518I’m not sure my end-of-year recap letter will ever be the same.  I’m not drafting this in the final days of December 2015, nor the days creeping into January or February 2016… No, no, I’m not even THAT good.  It is currently July 7th, 2016.  Yes, I’m THAT bad.  At least I can use a cliche slogan on my letter as a “Christmas in July” recap… but who am I fooling?  Only myself…. The truth is, 2015 held such monstrous events that it’s taken me 6 months into 2016 to really sit down, reflect, and write about it. Or maybe I’m just a procrastinator…

2015 began with my last semester of Graduate school at NMSU.  Masters of Social Work was in it’s final lap and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Charlie and I decided it would be a good idea to attempt “Operation Reconnect” again in 2015, you can read about that here.

In January, my Dad headed the “mission control” Air Traffic Control team for the Two Eagles gas balloon flight which was aiming at breaking the world record for length and time traveled (and it DID!!).  The flight had many exciting twists and turns and the Albuquerque Balloon Museum was the control center of it all.  Gentry & Haven loved visiting grandpa in the midst of all the excitement. The crew and controllers even got invited to the Roundhouse in Santa Fe for a celebratory day with the Governor of NM in honor of “Two Eagles Day”.

We spent the last weekend of January with a trip to Angelfire to relax, ski, and watch the Superbowl with family and friends.  Everyone had a great time.  The icing on the cake was the extraordinary series of events that happened to a teacher that I had met while working for Child Protective Services in the months prior.  If you have no idea who Sonya Romero is, click here to read all about it.

In March, Charlie resumed his volunteer coaching career with i9Sports and coached both Haven’s soccer team (the 4 year olds) and Gentry’s baseball team (the 6 year olds).  Well, what really happened was that I signed up to coach Haven’s soccer team but then I chickened out and got stage fright and made him take over.  Poor thing.  He hates me but I think he enjoyed it, especially having never played soccer in his life.  Horay for YouTube videos!!  The children both really enjoyed their teams/season.

In April, we put Gentry in ballet, jazz, hip hop camp for Spring break at Keshet Dance studio.  He started out iffy but ended up loving it and wanting the whole ballet outfit (tights pointing shoes and all).  It was cute.  My birthday in April was clouded by Comprehensive Exams, a 72 hour research/writing “exam” for Grad school.   Needless to say, after that, the month was shot and I was struggling to crawl to the Grad school finish line.  I can’t remember anything redeeming for April after that point.

In May, Gentry was so excited to participate for his school in The Run For The Zoo.  Gentry really loved the training with his P.E. coach in the weeks leading up to the run and he left me and Haven in the dust once the race started.  So much for a 2K “fun run”, he’s super competitive (like someone else I know…).

Also in May, my youngest sister, Lindsey, graduated from Manzano highschool.  Congrats to her on all the hard work!  I had to upstage her graduation with my own graduation to make myself feel young & cool again.  Charlie & I and the kids, went to Las Cruces, NM for the main campus graduation from NMSU (he wanted to see the “real” college that my Albuquerque campus was tied to).  My twin sister, Yvonne, drove up to Las Cruces from Austin, Texas just for the graduation.  It was a surreal night “walking” with all my Las Cruces TV screen classmates/faculty.  We attended the Social Work hooding ceremony but ended up bailing on the huge Saturday graduation (the kids could only take so much waiting and boredom…. and quite frankly, me too).  The itch was adequately scratched.

My Mom came to Albuquerque from Guam for all of the families graduation ceremonies.  She always comes back for the summers but the rest of the year she works on grant programs for collaborative art projects with the National Parks in Guam.  We promptly took a little roadtrip to Phoenix to visit my brother Aaron and meet his new baby girl, Atlyss, who had arrived on Valentines Day in February.  She was so cute and the children had a great time with their cousins.  Upon our return, Charlie & I promptly rented a moving truck and finally moved into our “mountain chalet”.  It had been patiently waiting since last summer for me to graduate before we moved in.  It was also that weekend that I officially accepted a job offer and started paid employment with The Children, Youth, & Families Department (CYFD) working as an In-Home Services Practitioner.  It was an exciting and exhausting month to say the least.

In June, Charlies family from Houston, TX came to stay with us for a few days.  We had a great time visiting the Zoo/Biopark and the children got their fix of cousin , aunt/uncle, and grandma time.  They even rode the Tramway.

In July, we sent off my newly graduated little sister, Lindsey, to Guam with my Mom for a little post highschool soul searching time.  I think she enjoyed it but was back by Halloween.  Homesick. (teenagers. sheesh!)

In August, I passed the Licensing exam to get my official Social Work License as an LMSW.  It was such a hard exam so I was thrilled to pass (on my son’s lucky birthdate). Also, in August, Gentry & Haven started school at the elementary school in Tijeras, NM.  It was Haven’s first year of “real” school and she was so excited to start Kindergarten and be like her brother.  Gentry started 1st grade.  The school bus picked up the children at the top of our driveway, and it was the cutest little country thing ever. I love it.  An honorable mention for August, is that the kiddos had their birthday party in the Barn with a country/western theme and Gentry got a Red Ryder BB gun.  Hide your eyeballs, folks.

In October, the kids took advantage of the Pinon seed explosion and bagged up a bunch for friends and family (and sold a few bags too).  It was their first entrepreneurial experience. My sister Yvonne also came to visit in October and it was a great time.  The children love “auntie Von”.

In November, my Dads brothers and sister came to visit from as far away as Cape Town, South Africa.  It was awesome to hangout with all my aunts and uncles, it’s been years!!  The children loved it too.

I couldn’t mention winter months without mentioning how truly awesome the snow was this year [sarcasm].  I think Charlie had to pull my car out at least 13 times.  The novelty of getting to use his 4-wheel drive was definitely worn off by the time I lodged my car sideways into the ditch-bank across from the mailboxes in our neighborhood a mere 30 seconds after he had just pulled my car out of a snow bank in our driveway.  El nino had a beef with me this year, what can I say?  I’m also a really bad parker/driver apparently. Who knew?  (Now everyone in our neighborhood knows)

In early December, my brother Marcus and his girlfriend Jessica, welcomed their first child into this world, my super cute nephew Gavin.  It was exciting news but we didn’t get to meet him till later on.  Also, in December, Charlie, the kids and I flew to Texas to spend Christmas with Charlies family/brother in La Grange, TX.  The children had a blast playing with their cousins in the mud pond, on the 4-wheelers, etc.  They also got to visit with their big brother, Aaron, who spent an evening with us.  Much needed family time.

As we begin 2016, I look forward to chilling out this year.  Relaxing.  Smelling the roses.  Not having MAJOR plans. For. Anything.  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 both doing well in school, especially with reading, handwriting, and art.  They are really enjoying living in the mountains.  It’s like a getaway, everyday, if I say so myself.

We hope this letter finds you and your family happy and healthy going into 2016 (or for the rest of 2016).  Many blessings!

Love,

The Tomlins

2015 Operation Reconnect

As a New Years resolution in 2015, 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 and 2014, 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 2015:

January:  Football night at Matts
February:  Dinner party at Savoy
March:  FAIL
April:  “Art Fight” at Tractor Brewery
May:  Future Fund “Clue” Murder Mystery party
June:  Night at Sandia Hotel
July:  Future Fund “Beers & Brats on the Bosque” party
August:  Night at Sandia Hotel
September: FAIL
October: Junior League 007 Gala; Florida Georgia Line Concert
November:  Future Fund Holiday Party; Angela’s wedding
December: FAIL

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:  Ski weekend in Angelfire; Balloon Museum
February: Birthday party at Explora; skiing with Grandpa at Sandia; Shrine Circus
March:  Keshet Dance for Spring Break; Rachelle’s Birthday Bash
April: Tee ball & Soccer
May: Road trip to Phoenix to visit cousins; Las Cruces graduation fun
June:  Tram/Zoo/Botanical Gardens with the Texas family
July:: 4th of July in Santa Fe
August: Cliffs Amusement Park; Sandia Hotel & pool; Isotopes game
September: State fair; Cool Springz Trampoline park;
October: Birthday Party & Marcus’ Baby Shower; Halloween Trailer party
November: Christmas Tree Cutting in Jemez
December:  Star Wars Movie / Houston trip to visit family

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