Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Newsletter 2006

Dear Family & Friends!

Every year Steve and I talk about sending out a Christmas Newsletter, but never seem to get around to doing it. So this year we were determined to make an exception and update everyone on this past year or so. Starting in December 2005, we were delighted with a 3-week visit from my parents. It was one of the most special times we have ever experienced and we know we were so blessed to have that opportunity. We made the most of our time off work and took a road trip with them along the coast. We had breakfast in Solvang, stayed in Cambria & celebrated my folks 34th Anniversary, visited Hearst Castle, drove through Big Sur, saw huge sea lions on the beaches, and headed on our merry way to San Francisco. We had a great time being tourists visiting Alcatraz, The Golden Gate Bridge, the Japanese Gardens, and Fisherman’s Wharf etc. After a few days in San Francisco, we stopped at the giant sequoias on our way to Yosemite. Here we had the best time ever. My mom tried ice-skating for the first time in her life! We played cards around a warm fire, played drafts (checkers) and took wonderful walks to see the waterfalls. My dad had the hardest time trying to say Yosemite and it became an ongoing joke the entire trip. If it wasn’t Yosmenenteeee, it was Yosi-might, or something like that! It was truly such a blessing to be together and to savor each moment, as we all knew we probably wouldn’t have a chance to do that kind of trip ever again. With sadness, 3 weeks were up and we waved good-bye to them at LAX.

January came around and we both got settled back into work and life. I tried snowboarding in Mammoth for the 2nd time and loved it even more! I know, shocker! From the girl who swore she would never get on a slope again!

February we received wonderful news that my sister Ruth and her family had their work visa approved and that they would be joining us in sunny California later on in the year! What an answer to prayer that was! Also in February our lives changed drastically! We went away for a romantic weekend in Lake Arrowhead and came home with a Dalmatian puppy! We named her Domino and for the first few weeks I was actively looking for a new home for her! I was secretly hoping Steve’s folks would want her! I couldn’t believe how much work she was! Steve was amazing with her and was soon converted to a doggie person! We got her in training and persevered with her & now we have a 1 yr old dog that is a huge part of the family, we don’t know what we’d do without her! We’ve met so many neighbors through her and have an entire network of doggie friends & their parents! Mom and Dad Hughes’ dog Lexy, likes to play with Domino and whenever we’re over at one another’s for dinner, our dogs are closely in tow!

During this time Steve started his own computer company called Data Harmonix and he has been working diligently adding new clients and being contracted out. I am still working for a High-End Custom Home Builder and have been given more responsibilities, so am being kept very busy too. I have been keeping up with my sewing, knitting and painting! Although I have a painting to finish still from a few months ago!
The summer was very hot but we survived. We had several weddings to attend and had a great time celebrating with our friends. We were blessed by meeting another couple from our new church, Compass Bible Church, at one of the weddings. They told us about a new Young Married’s Bible Study that was starting in the Fall and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as the group we had been actively involved in for 4 years had come to an end.
We dropped Steve’s folks off at the San Diego Port and they went on a cruise to celebrate their 35th Anniversary! They had a great time, although one engine died shortly after they left land! Christine is working at a Mexican Resort and is really enjoying it!

During the Fall we started planning a HUGE surprise welcome party for Ruth, Kevin and the girls as they were moving in November! It was so amazing picking them up from the airport, knowing that we were going to be in the same city as us for the first time in 10 years! We had the huge party for them in the park and had a great turn out! They were thoroughly spoiled and it was a great time! It has been just so wonderful & a huge honor having them here in the flesh and helping them get their lives situated! The girls are so adorable and Steve and I are enjoying being Uncle and Aunt!

Steve and I also had the opportunity to go on a Men’s and Women’s retreat respectively! We had a great time and it was good meeting other people in the church!

In other news, my application for Change of Status with the INS came into effect as my first green card expired. We started the process for my Citizenship Application and had meetings with my Immigration Lawyer in preparation for the big day!

The big day was Friday December 8th and I passed the test & interview, Lord willing I’ll become a citizen in January when I am officially sworn in!

December is a busy month for us with Christmas Parties, Progressive Dinners, Office Parties, and of course our 3rd year of hosting a New Year’s Eve party for friends and family at Steve’s parents house!!

During the busyness of the season, we want to stop and take some time to reflect on the past and the blessings we have received.
We praise the Lord for the birth of his Son and wish you His love during this Season and the New Year!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called: Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, the PRINCE OF PEACE!
Isaiah 9:6

God Bless you!

Steve, Shaz & Domino!