2017 Recap: Happy New Year!


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.

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


2017 Operation Reconnect


As a New Years resolution in 2017, Charlie and I again vowed to re-ignite the spark of one-on-one time at least once a month in the form of unique date nights.  Like in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016, the rules were to alternate who planned/executed each date night every month and to not repeat previous date nights within the 12 months.  As usual, our hopes were high to be able to get more creative with each date but due to some schedule constraints (traveling) we relied on some old tried and true datenights.  Here is what we ended up with by the end of 2017:


January  – Agatha Christie: “And then there were none” play at ALT
February – Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra at the Lobo with Veronica & James
March – BANFF Film Festival at the Kimo with Jesse & Daleen
April – The ABQ Escape Room challenge, and the Mayor’s Gala
May – Big Brothers Big Sisters Breakfast
June – Salsa Under the Stars dancing at the ABQ Museum
July – Future Fund Secret Garden party (Charlie out of town)
August – 505 Food Fight at Hotel Andaluz
September – Facebook datenight at Hotel Chaco
October – Junior League Gala’s A Red Carpet Affair (1920’s style)
November – ABQ Community Foundation Donors event (took my Dad)
December –  Future Fund Holiday Party, Facebook Christmas Party

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 – Ninja Park
February – Wildlife West adventure with the boyscouts
March – Carlsbad Caverns
April – Junior Leagues “Truck-a-Palooza” on Civic Plaza
May – FAIL
June – Fishing at Tingley Beach with the Boy Scouts
July – AJ’s Birthday party
August – Goonies Scavenger Hunt for birthday treasure
September – UNM Men’s Soccer game
October – Balloon Fiesta, and the Addams Family at ALT
November – Calypso Christmas at the Kimo
December – Annie at Albuquerque Little Theatre, and Meow Wolf



2016 Recap: Happy New Year!


I’m proud of myself for actually completing this within the first month of the year, even though it’s the last day of the month. 2016 was relatively low-key for us and that’s just how we wanted it.

We started the year with a vow to continue to make sure we spent some alone time as a couple, without the children, at least once a month.  Its too easy to put our relationship on the back burner due to being busy with the rest of life’s demands so we committed to another year of “Operation Reconnect” to make sure we made time with each other a priority (for at least 12 days out of 365).

In January, we brought home a new member of the family (to replace our beloved Milo & to be Kisa’s daytime pal).  We adopted an 11 year old Norfolk Terrier mix from the Animal Humane and named him Budrow (pronounced Bood-row) which means “buddy” in Cajun?  He’s quite the cuddle-buddy and he makes lots of funny love cries, we love him so much!

In March, Gentry & Haven played soccer with i9Sports again.  They were put on the same team and they were both feirce.  They had a lot of fun playing together, and at times, against each other.  In April, Gentry started baseball with East Mountain Little League.  It was his first time playing on a “real” field and he had a blast playing  pitcher position (machine pitch) with the Tigers. His team was almost undefeated and came in 2nd place in the standings.  Haven joined girlscouts and Gentry joined boyscouts in the Spring.  They both had a great time earning badges, participating in many events, and outdoor activities.

My twin sister, Yvonne, came to visit us in May and we all had a great time!  The most memorable dinner of the year was at Vinaigrette catching up with her and dear friends.  My Mom came again in June to visit from Guam for a few months.  My little sister Lindsey, Gentry, Haven, and I drove to Phoenix to pick her up and bring her back to Albuquerque with us.  We had a great time visiting with my brother Aaron and his family in Phoenix, AZ  and the children enjoyed their visit with the cousins, especially the blacklight Scorpion hike night and cousin Kezra’s fancy dance recital.

In July, my Godmother, Christine, and her friend, Joe, came to visit for 5 days from Texas.  Even though I had to work the whole week, we had a fun time.  Luckily, my Mom was in town to entertain and play host for all the touristy outings. Thanks Mom!

In August, Charlies 21 year old son, Aaron, came to visit from Colorado.  Charlie and all 3 of his children took the Scamp camper to Santa Rosa Lake for 2 nights.  Though the nights were rainy, they had a blast at the obstacle water park.  Also in August, my twin sister Yvonne came to visit from Austin for 3 days.  We celebrated Gentry & Haven’s birthdays (6 & 8) with an Isotopes game and swimming at Sandia Resort (thanks Dad!).  We also celebrated my brother, Cody and his girlfriend, Dominique’s, new home purchase. Cody also turned 21 this year! My youngest brother is legal, lookout!

In September, Charlie went on a trip to Needville, TX to visit his Mom.   He enjoyed being ‘home’. Charlie also competed in the “12 hours of Albuquerque” mountain bike race with four of his friends from work. They all seemed to have a great time and the kids and I enjoyed hanging out at the event and indulging in S’mores. Also, in September, Gentry & Haven joined East Mountain AYSO Soccer.  We enjoyed the more structured league and I somehow got suckered into being a referee for the 8 year olds which was so far out of my comfort zone but I survived. Definitely karma payback for all the times Charlie got “nominated” to be coach.

In October, we spent an evening with my brother Aaron’s family for a night in Phoenix before we drove to Puerta Penasco, Mexico to stay & play at the Mayan Palace.  It was a relaxing trip with such nice weather and the kids had a great time collecting seashells, swimming, & tasting fresh oysters. Thanks Dad!

In November, Charlie spent several weeks in Texas visiting his Mom and helping her with her medical appointments.  The children and I flew out for a couple days and I was able to spend some much needed sister time with Yvonne in Austin.  We had a great time relaxing, running, & eating at all the fun Austin eateries.   The kids also had a great time visiting with their Uncle Matt, Misty and cousins. Wii dance party pros!

In December my brother Marcus & his 1 year old baby, Gavin, came from Beaver Creek, Colorado to stay with us for Christmas.  We missed Jessica but it was a treat getting to have a toddler in the house.  A fun crash course in relocating floor level plants and Christmas ornaments. The kiddos enjoyed playing with their youngest cousin.

As we begin 2017, I continue to work towards my Clinical Social Work License (1/2 way there) and work full-time at CYFD.  I’m still enjoying the Junior League of Albuquerque and now I’m serving on the Board of the Future Fund (an endowment/philanthropic group under the Albuquerque Community Foundation) both of which I’ve been a part of for the past 5 years.  Charlie continues to raise the bar and be fulfilled at his job.  In fact, he received an extra stellar performance review this year (I’m so proud of him)!  His latest home project is welding gates for our driveways.  Whew, his weekend energy level never ceases to amaze me.

We hope this letter finds you and your family happy and healthy going into 2017. Many blessings!


The Tomlins

2016 Operation Reconnect

img_0263As a New Years resolution in 2016, Charlie and I vowed to re-ignite the spark of one-on-one time at least once a month in the form of unique date nights.  Like in 2012, 2014, and 2015, the rules were to alternate months of who planned/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 2016:

January:  Couples Massage and dinner
February:  FAIL
March:  Night in Santa Fe for Anniversary, BANFF Film Fest at the Kimo
April:  Dinner with friends and Dirty Bourbon
May:  Yanni’s Lemony Lounge Suprise party
June:  Junior League Cooking night
July:  Salsa Under the Stars
August:  FAIL
September: Jazz & Wine Fest
October: Mexico Trip
November:  Toefel’s Bar in Needville, TX
December: FLIX dinner and movie

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:  Skiing at Sandia, skating at Rollerking
February: Harlem Globetrotter; Skiing in Pagosa Springs
March: FAIL
April: Tee ball & Soccer
May: All Star Youth Hip Hop Dance Performance
June:  Visiting cousins in Phoenix, Blacklight scorpion night hike
July:: 4th of July in Ruidoso/Inn of the mountain Gods
August: Sandia Hotel & pool; Isotopes game
September: Pool party at Los Altos
October: Halloween Carnival; Mexico Trip
November: Main Event for Reeds Bday; Visiting with Cousins in TX
December:  A Christmas Story play at ABQ Little Theater

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!


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

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!


The Tomlins

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