Merry Christmas and Happy New Year . . . . Once again!
2012 Has been an exciting year for our little family! All started with a FUN trip to see Nana and Grandpa in Maui in February. Bonus.....Grandma and Grandpa met us there! What is better than both sets of grandparents and a tropical vacation . . .NOT MUCH! We saw lots of whales and spent a good amount of time playing in the waves. It was a very nice, relaxing vacay.
Here is a synopsis our our family . .
Tarin is 11 now and is a fabulous kid to have around. She has a really funny sense of humor, which is somewhat mandatory living in this household. She has started babysitting a little for us, and I am LOVING that. It is awesome. She enjoys earning privileges in exchange for babysitting. Sometimes she even makes a little money! Tarin had two great soccer seasons this year. Her team this fall was undefeated! She decided to join the band this fall as she entered the 6th grade. She is playing the flute and is really enjoying it. She also takes piano lessons and is very organized with her time. She is sure to get all her work done before playing. . .well most of the time. She has been cleaning a little at Dan's office and that sure takes me back to my toilet scrubbing years at Heritage Financial Group!! Tarin is an incredible student and studies hard to earn good grades. I am often in awe at her maturity and her ability to see most situations through very mature eyes. She is super excited to be turning 12 this next year and most importantly, leaving primary and entering young women!!
Ella is our little sparkly girl. She finds a way, each day, to add a little sparkle to each outfit she wears. Her beautiful blue eyes, are often enough, in my opinion. Ella really has enjoyed being in activity day girls in church. She turned 8 this spring and had a beautiful baptism in St. George. Her family from all over was there, and it was very special. We had her service in the clubhouse next to the pool and then Dan baptized her in the pool and confirmed her right there, poolside. It was awesome and a very memorable day for all of us. Ella is in the 3rd grade this year, and is very frustrated that I keep trying to put her back into the 2nd grade. She has a great group of friends this year and is really lucky to have a good teacher. She is still doing clog and hip hop classes which she loves....well she loves, once she gets there. Ella is also taking piano lessons. She has some natural ability. . .which i am sure she inherited from her grandmothers. She fights me on the practicing...but LOVES the performing.
Walker turned 5 this year...and I am sad. I don't love the fact that he started kindergarten this fall. He's been my little buddy for a few years and I missed him when he headed off to school. Thankfully, I think he got the best kindergarten teacher out there. He LOVES her and so do I. It doesn't hurt much that she is really pretty! Walker is our little athlete. In my first parent teacher conference, his teacher went over all the mandatory things, like reading, writing, etc, and then when she got to his physical assessment, she just handed me the paper and said she was impressed. He was supposed to do 2-10 sit ups in 1 minute for PE, and he did 40! Needless to say, he is a little muscle man. He loves to ride his bike. Dan made the supreme sacrifice and sold his motorcycle and got the kids a small dirt bike and small 4 wheeler, and Walker wants to ride those as often as Daddy can stand. Walker also loves to play soccer too. He is just a joy to have around. He has a very pleasant disposition and we are so glad he is in our family!
I have had a good year. I got released from my three church callings and was put in as the 1st counselor in the Young Women. I also got to help with the stake girls camp and that was an amazing experience, one that I get to do again this summer. I am super excited and I love getting to know more women and girls in the stake. Dan and I started doing CrossFit this fall. It is killing me, but is a fun new challenge. I also ran a Ragnar race this fall. It was from Chattanooga TN, to Nashville, TN. It was an amazingly fun, stupid, horrible, fantastic experience. Other than coordinating schedules and running kids around, I stay busy cleaning and shopping. I quit working at our office and at the preschool. I love staying home and having a little more freedom during the week. I am doing okay in Arkansas. Somewhere I never thought I would live, but it is a BEAUTIFUL state and I have learned that a place is what you make of it. Arkansans are a unique group of people, and I think I may be turning into one of them!
Dan is always busy doing something. He is officially licensed as a Hearing Instrument Specialist, FINALLY! He was released from his four church callings this spring and was called into the bishopric in our ward. His dad flew all the way from Hawaii, on very short notice, to ordain Dan to the office of a high priest. It was a huge sacrifice on his parents part and was very appreciated on this end. So, between work and church, we don't see Dan a whole lot. Since last year he has opened two more offices in the state. We now have four offices in Arkansas. Thankfully we have great people in place who work hard and are loyal. We are thankful for them every day! Dan is adjusting being home with us all week long. Sometimes I think he wishes he had a nice, quiet hotel room to go to at night (I'd go with him), but he loves us and we are so glad he's home. His inner redneck is coming out and its a little bit scary. He took a guys trip to the Tulsa gun show and thought that was pretty cool. It was the week after the election, so you can only imagine the craziness that was there. Dan has also become a BBQ Master around these parts. In his frustration at finding good BBQ after we left Texas, he took it upon himself to make it. He has been asked to cook for weddings, and church functions, Thanksgiving dinners, and as birthday gifts for people in the area. He loves to smoke meat, and I LOVE that he loves it. He makes his own BBQ sauce and it is definitely a skill he is always striving to perfect.
We are ending this year, much the way we started, with a trip to Hawaii! I know, we need a little variety in our vacation planning. We love it, other than the flight, and so do the kids!
We are grateful every day for all the blessings in our lives. We are so grateful for our health and the health of our kids. We are so grateful for our extended families, those that live away and those that we have adopted in each place we have lived. We are now entering our 3rd year in Hot Springs, and guess what? We are NOT moving!! I am grateful for that!
We wish you all a Very Merry Christmas, and hope that you find joy this season as you celebrate the birth of the Savior!
All our Love,