2016 Recap: Happy New Year!

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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!

Love,

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!

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

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

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

2013 Recap: Merry Christmas Letter

Nothing could really live up to 2012.  That year was so full of extraordinary experiences and memories for us that 2013 didn’t have a chance.  But it tried….

In February, we spent Superbowl weekend in Taos for some R&R and winter play with the kids.  We also took a mini-getaway to Canon Del Rio in Jemez Springs for Valentines weekend without the kids.

In March, Charlie & I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary.  I planned the day of romance for my love.  We started with breakfast, then a horseback riding romance package, lunch, massages for two, a movie, and dinner/drinks.  Charlie said he felt like a contestant on “The Bachelor”. LOL!  Mission accomplished, it was a milestone anniversary.

Also in March, we enrolled Gentry in Tee Ball.  I secretly signed Charlie up to be one of the coaches.  It was something he moaned about but eventually embraced and was really good at.  He was a natural at it (boy, did it take a lot of patience looking from the outside in LOL!).  Gentry had always seemed to enjoy playing baseball in our backyard but doing it in an organized real team setting posed to be a challenge and he struggled with performance anxiety & shyness for a few weeks.  He eventually got over it, and proved to be one of the most powerful batters on our team.  Go Gentry!!

In April, I celebrated my 35th birthday in style (for once).  I did a spa theme and had some girlfriends join me for some R&R, massages, food, & people watching (Zombie watching on Central Ave LOL!) from a loft that I rented downtown for the night.  Ironically, it ended up being an actors condo from Breaking Bad (Jeremiah Bitsui)!!  What a neat birthday surprise!  We girls had a lot of fun!

Also in April I began months of training as a CASA (a Court Appointed Special Advocate) to give foster children a voice in the system.  I also continued my volunteering with the Make-a-Wish Foundation of NM, the Junior League of Albuquerque, and the Childrens Grief Center of NM.  These were all continued signs of what was to come later in the year….

In May, we drove up to Pueblo, Colorado to watch Charlies 18 year old son Aaron graduate from Highschool.  It was a great road trip with the kids, a nice graduation seeing Aaron, and great mini-vacation of swimming at the hotel, going to the Pueblo Zoo, and visiting Charlies friends.

In June, we went to Houston to visit with Charlies family.  We had a blast with his brother Matt & his girlfriend Misty and her wonderful children who are so great with ours.  We went to Splashway water park, and had many enjoyable nights cooking and catching up with his family.

In June, my twin sister Yvonne, moved in with us for a few months after her home sold before moving to Austin, Texas in August.  It was  big move for her and a big change for us, living in different cities for the first time.  But change is good and absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?  She’s loving Austin, except for the traffic.

In July, I  quit my job at Ernest Health after nearly 6 years (Mid-thirties crisis or destiny?) and in August, I started at NMSU in the Social Work Masters degree program.  As part of my degree requirements, I also began working as an unpaid intern at Albuquerque Public Schools shadowing a Social Worker at 3 different schools for 16 hours per week.  Getting back into school was definitely an adjustment.  Last minute “procrastination motivation” is very risky with two small unpredictable children in the wings.  My classes are every evening Monday thru Thursday from 6 to 8:30pm.  I couldn’t have done this without Charlie, he has been such a help.

In July, we took a week long vacation to Breckenridge to stay with Charlies friend Daniel Tobin.  The kids had a blast doing all kinds of outdoorsy stuff (fishing, boating, hot tubbing, 4-wheeling, jeeping, and hiking on the ski slopes) and I also enjoyed catching up on my trashy cable TV.  We had a great time, didn’t want to leave.

At the end of July, Gentry started Kindergarten at the public Elementary school in our district.  He got off to a very rough start, getting into trouble with his teachers on a weekly basis.  He was 4 when school started (year round school) so we think he’s maybe a little socially immature in comparison to his peers.  He continues to struggle with behavior at school (not academics) so we are somewhat stressed out trying to figure out what to do for him and how to help him.

In early August, we went to Amarillo, Texas for a Tomlin Family Reunion.  We celebrated all things Tomlin at the Palo Duro Canyon park.  We took in the Texas show there and had a blast catching up with family.  Gentry even learned to swim all by himself in the hotel pool.  Also in August, we celebrated Gentry & Haven’s birthdays by having a dual party in our backyard.  It was a milestone birthday for Gentry, turning 5, and moving on to Kindergarten.  It was one last fun celebration with his pre-K friends before they all moved on to their own school districts.

In October, Charlie and his Mom went to Washington, D.C. because she had never been and he wanted to show her all the Capital sights.  Well, thanks to the government shutdown, all of the monuments and museums were closed.  They made the most of it though and got creative with their itinerary.  They really enjoyed their mother-son trip.

Also in October, we celebrated my Moms 60 birthday while she was in town from Guam for a few weeks.  A few weeks turned into a few months due to the VA postponing a minor surgery several times.  I enjoyed her staying with us and the kids definitely enjoyed her company, especially in the evenings when I was in class.  Also, in October, my brother Aaron and his family came to visit from Phoenix.  The cousins got to visit each other (and grandma), and we got to meet baby boy Strydem for the first time.  Such a sweetie pie.

In November, we celebrated Thanksgiving at the Ruidoso, NM cabin.  It had been remodeled and rebuilt mostly by my Dad, Charlie, & many others throughout the year since January when it was almost completely ruined due to a burst water pipe.  We had a great time.

We hope 2014 is less chaotic and more balanced for us.  Charlie and I definitely need to start up our Operation Reconnect again in 2014 because we didn’t do it in 2013 and we definitely felt really disconnected from each other throughout the year.  But then again, it was a year of many changes for us, a different household routine, a new job for me, and elementary school for Gentry.   Life is still good.  We’re still happy & healthy and in the grand scheme of things, that’s really all that matters.

Much love & blessings to you in 2014.

The Tomlins

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