2017 Recap: Happy New Year!

FamilyPhoto2017

I’ve gotten this letter completed by the 2nd week of the New Year which beats my time from last year.  Wooohooo!  On top of that, we finally got professional Family Photos this year (long overdue) so we were able to send a photo Christmas card….for New Years. Ha!  I’m not THAT good.  2017 was an eventful year for us, full of vacations, job/school changes, and personal achievements.  We committed to another year of “Operation Reconnect” to make sure Charlie and I had uninterrupted adult dates at least once a month.  We also continued the Family dates of doing something out of the normal routine for the children at least once a month.

We started off the year in Pagosa Springs for skiing and snowboarding for Superbowl weekend.  Haven finally got the hang of skiing, which was much more exciting than the EPIC Superbowl comeback win by the Patriots. Wow!

This year included a bunch of firsts for the children.  We decided to put the children into a lottery drawing for attending a charter school in Moriarty for the 2017/2018 school year.  Much to all of our surprise, they were bumped off of the waiting list and able to start at the new school in August.  While they miss their old friends, they’ve made a much easier transition than we thought they would. They “love” their new school, uniforms and all.

We took a fun but windy trip with the Scamp Camper to Carlsbad Caverns with Charlies coworker, Jesse, and his family over Spring Break in March.  The kids had a great time with their new friends and exploring the Caverns.  Gentry joined East Mountain Little League baseball again in the Spring.  He had an enjoyable season and even got to pitch a little.  Gentry also enjoyed another year with his Boy Scout troop.  Both of the children joined AYSO soccer again in the Fall and had a great season with their teams.  They joined beginners Guitar Club at school in the Fall.  In February, Haven survived her first season of selling Girl Scout Cookies (my waistline didn’t).  She joined her new Girl Scout troop in December.

At the end of May, I took a road trip with friends to Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona, part of the Grand Canyon (a 10 mile hike in).  We camped there for 2 nights.  The Havasupai waterfalls were the most beautiful natural wonders that I’d ever seen.  On the drive back from the Havasupai trip, Charlie and the children picked me up in Flaggstaff, AZ on their way to Lake Powell, UT for a short family vacation aboard a houseboat.  We shared the trip with our friends, the Nagyvary family.  All of the children enjoyed the waterslide off the roof and they didn’t want the vacation to end.

Charlie had an extra exciting year of changes and new beginnings.  After 15+ years at Sandia Labs and not even looking for a new job, he took a Project Manager position at Facebook in Los Lunas, NM at the end of August.  It’s been a whirlwind of changes and traveling often to Facebook headquarters in California.  He also took many trips to Houston in February, April, and July to care for his mother before, during, and after her heart surgery.  It was definitely a change for us to have Charlie traveling so often this year but it also was a reminder that he really keeps the family on track and functioning on all cylinders….

Charlie also got pulled for elk and deer hunting in the Fall.  He talked us into going with him so we invited our neighbor friends, The Baker family, and made a fun family camping trip out of it.  Charlies cousin, Skeet, also came along.  The hunt was relatively uneventful except for when Charlie got “turned around” after chasing some Elk and ended up having to spend the night in the woods by himself. Eeeek!! He was unphased but I was a *little* nervous by daybreak.

Charlie also competed in two bike races this year, the 12 Hours in the Wild West in Ruidoso, NM in April, and the South Boundary Big Ride in Angelfire, NM in July.  I have no idea how he rides his mountain bike up & down forest trails for hours but he and his teammates did stellar!  They even took first place for foursome team category.

This year we also had many family visitors.  My Mom came from Guam and did her usual two (or three?) month stay with us.  My twin sister, Yvonne, came to visit us a few times from Austin, TX (Did I mention that she completed writing her first book: Your Pets are Fine and Other lies).  My brother, Marcus, came down from Leadville, Colorado. We were also excited to welcome Marcus into the wonderful world of marriage in September when he and his girlfriend Jessica made it official and got married in Angelfire, NM.  Gentry & Haven were thrilled to be in the wedding with their baby cousin, Gavin. Charlies son, Aaron, came to stay with us for a week in December.  Gentry and Haven loved spending time with their big brother and he even got to hang out with his “cool” stepmom at Ugly Sweater Karaoke night. Ha!

Last but not least, I had a busy year too.  I continued volunteering with the Junior League of Albuquerque.  I served my first year on the Board of the Future Fund, a philanthropic group that is part of the Albuquerque Community Foundation.  I enjoyed this new experience.  I also managed our back patio deck upgrade project at home, which ended up being a 3 month frustration but turned out beautiful thanks to my Stepdad and Charlie’s help.  The icing on my year was in December when I passed my “Clinical” exam to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).  This level of licensure was my ultimate goal because it will allow me to become credentialed/accepted by insurance companies to bill for therapy services if I ever decide to open my own agency.  Meanwhile, I’m still mostly loving my job with Child Protective Services (CYFD).  The stress ebbs and flows, I’ve learned how to take it in stride (most of the time).

We hope this letter finds you and your family doing well. We wish you love and light in 2018.

Love,
The Tomlins
(Charlie, Kellie, Gentry, & Haven)

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