There were two things that really stood out in 2015. First, Nicholas reached that wonderful age of 8 in May and was baptized. He was so proud to wear his new suit afterwards for his confirmation and thrilled that his grandparents on both sides were able to attend. The second was that we decided to put Ryan in a different preschool after heeding a mother’s intuition and unsettled feeling about our original plan to send him for another year to where he went last year. Ryan just barely missed the cut-off for Kindergarten and needed something more challenging and stimulating. The new school had more of a curriculum and it didn’t hurt that one of Ryan’s best friends from church also went there. They have been connected at the hip this fall. We are very proud of both of the boys and can certainly see the Lord’s influence in their lives.
Both of the boys played soccer in the fall and started learning to play the piano. Nicholas actually started formal lessons while Ryan just swiped Nicholas’ music and started teaching himself. They both love Star Wars and Minecraft and many of their activities at home revolve around these themes, whether it be playing with legos, reading, coloring, watching shows, collecting figures, or playing games on the iPad for the limited time they get to do that on the weekends.
Carrie got a glowing mid-year report card for 3rd grade. Oh wait, that was actually Nicholas :). Carrie loved school so much growing up that I give her a hard time about whether it’s Nicholas or her in school. She’s doing a wonderful job helping instill in Nicholas a discipline in doing his homework well every day and it’s paying off. A highlight for Carrie this year was taking a trip in July to Peru with her mom to see Machu Picchu. Her dad and I watched the boys and we won’t provide many details on that except that we did our best to ruin them while the ladies were out touring the world. Carrie also fully healed from her knee injury last year and got back into ½ marathon form and for a 2nd year in a row we did the Malibu olympic distance triathlon in September. We have really been able to take advantage of the SoCal weather that always seems to be nice for running and biking, so there haven’t been any good excuses available. Plus, we’re just 3 miles from the beach, so we braved our fears of what lurks beneath and got out a number of times practice our ocean swimming leading up to the race.
For me, I continued to really enjoy my job at the Chevron refinery in El Segundo. I’ve had to start shifting my exercise routine to less running and more biking and swimming to reduce impact on my knees. This has led to discovering some new muscles in my back, neck, and shoulders which have probably felt largely ignored for most of my life. My diet mantra became “eat as many veggies as I can” after my father-in-law gave me a copy of the book, Eat to Live. I’ve really noticed a positive impact from these changes.
For those who are wondering and some probably guessed, our Christmas card picture was taken at the temple open house in Tijuana, Mexico, just across the border from San Diego. We took a quick trip down there after Thanksgiving. We are happy that the people in this area can now more easily enjoy the blessings of the temple. Our lives are blessed knowing that our family has been sealed together for eternity in the temple and that our family relationships will continue in the life beyond this one. We are thankful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, for his life and example, for the strong foundation His teachings provide in our lives as we raise our children, and for opportunities to serve Him in building up the kingdom of God on the earth until He comes again.