Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Holidays From The Mitchells!

As we pause to celebrate the birth of our Savior this year, we are reminded of His life and all that He has taught us and done for our lives.  We are eternally grateful for his sacrifice and the path that He laid ahead for us.  We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to teach His principles to our children, and set them up for success in life as well.  We hope that this holiday season finds all of our dear friends and family happy and well.  We are loving getting all of your holiday greetings and pictures in the mail!  I love the updates on everyone's kids.  It's crazy how fast time seems to be flying by.  

We've chosen to do our family letter here on the blog this year so all can see whenever they choose.  We've got some good pictures to sum up 2008 in our little household that we felt had to be included in our letter!  So, here goes.....

We celebrated Tess' third birthday in February at Fafa and Punkin's house.  She was thrilled to have everything pink!  She is growing fast into a very independent little girl.  She loves to color and can already write her name.   She tells me everyday that she wants to go to a "real" pre-school and not just do her studies with mom!  We love watching her personality develop more and more each day.

Owen turned one in March!  It's crazy to think how fast time is flying by.  He is such a BUSY boy.  He insists on doing everything on his own and is dying to talk.  He's constantly learning new words and putting them together.  He still loves his blankie and any car he can find.  His favorite thing in the whole world is his mommy - oh and balloons!  He goes nuts when he sees a balloon!  He loves animals and playing.  

We had a visit from Nana Barb in February and had a ton of fun with her!  We love it when she comes and spoils us with attention.  Brandon and I love it that she'll stay up way late playing Phase 10 with us!  We're anxious to see her again this coming February when we head up to Seattle. 

My grandparents, whom we call Fafa and Punkin, live just south of us in Tucson.  We see them as MUCH as we can!  We love playing with them and hearing all of Fafa's super cool stories.  We love Punkin's cooking, and she and Owen have a special little bond.  He loves her SO MUCH!  He has always been drawn to her, and we love that they are so close.

We had a super fun visit from my mom in March.  We loved having her here as well, and we feel bad that we gave her a cold!  We enjoyed hanging out with her.  She taught Brandon and I how to play Skip-bo and then we spent HOURS playing it!  We had a great time.  We're excited to see her and my dad when we head to Seattle to welcome Adam home from his mission.  They live in Georgia now, but are heading up there so we can all be together.

We had a great visit from Brandon's folks as well in August.  They actually took Porter and Tess with them for almost a week while they went to Texas to see Uncle Mike and his family.  The kids had a ton of fun with them, and I had some sweet bonding time with Owen while Brandon was out of town on Business.  We're looking forward to seeing Grandma again in March when she comes to see us.

Porter played T-ball this spring and LOVED it.  He's way excited to play again this coming spring.

Porter turned 6 in June and we took a bunch of his friends to the local fire station for a tour.  He was the only one who was able to wear the Captain's hat.  He is growing up to be such an intelligent little boy.  He loves to study and is already working on division and multiplication.  He loves to read and write as well.  He loves to read about the universe and keeps telling us he wants to be a NASA scientist.  We'll see if he holds true to that dream!  We love that he loves to learn and are trying to do everything we can for him to help him continue to progress.

We LOVE the weather here in Arizona!

We took the kids to San Diego in July and spent some time at the beach and then a couple of days at the San Diego Zoo.  We had a great time and made some long lasting memories as a family.

Brandon took an introductory course in Scuba this summer and is anxiously awaiting to start his official classes.  He had to work out of state for a few months this fall, so those will be coming this Spring.

Brandon's work party this year was at the Phoenix Zoo last week.  The weather was fantastic and we had a great time.

Our big news this year is that we FINALLY decided to settle down and buy a house!  We've been here 3 weeks now, and are getting settled in.  We are so grateful to be able to have our own home and are trying to put our personal touches on it.

We have much to be grateful for this year and are thrilled to say that all are happy and healthy.  We are loving this time in our lives as we watch our children grow.  As a couple, we've never been happier and that is good news as well.  We wish everyone a Happy Holidays and hope that you all know how much we love and think of you!  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A New House, A Move, Breakfast with Santa and a Partridge in a Pear Tree!

What can I say?  This picture speaks for itself.  Owen was NOT happy to meet Santa this year!  Porter and Tess, on the other hand were thrilled to meet him and tell him what they wanted.

Even Owen wouldn't eat what they called "sausage" at the school breakfast!  The pancakes weren't that bad.  But....then again....hard not to go wrong with flapjacks!

You gotta love Brandon's scruff from a few days of not shaving!  The kids were SO excited to see Santa, they barely ate. 

Outside the new house!  If you look close on the left side you can see one of our wussy plants.  Time to hit the store for some Miracle Grow.

The new diggs....just before the cleaners went in to clean before we closed.  We promise to post final pics.....once we are done with the painting we started.......we had some MINOR color issues....okay, maybe they were MAJOR.  Don't ask!  Let's just say, we learned our lesson not to buy multiple gallons of paint before testing on walls.

We have been in the new house for almost two weeks now and are loving getting settled.  Tomorrow is Brandon's work party at the Phoenix zoo, and we are all looking forward to seeing the animals and the lights at night.  We'll take lots of good pictures.  

We hope everyone is doing well, and promise not to be lazy about the blog now that we're unpacked!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Welcome Home Daddy!

Well, as most know, Brandon has been working in Idaho for the last 3 1/2 months, and he returned home today for good!  We are thrilled to have him home.  We missed him like crazy, and having him gone helped us realize how much we love and appreciate him.  

We drove out to the house today to check on the progress.  I posted a slideshow below of some random pictures we took today.  The one of the field is what is directly across from the house.  We have a great view from the master and the living room up front!  The flooring should be going in next week, so stay tuned for more pictures.  We close on the 25th, so the end is coming soon!

Update on the House!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween 2008

Owen was our little fireman, too bad he didn't want to wear his hat.  He looked too cute!

Thanks to Aunty Melanie, Tess was a beautiful version of Belle!  She felt like a true princess!

Porter was our resident fireman in training!  His little fire extinguisher was actually a sort of squirt gun.  It was kinda fun!

We had a WONDERFUL Halloween this year.  We missed the church's trunk-or-treating activity cuz we were off getting Brandon at the airport.  So, we took the plunge and hit the neighborhood on Friday night to take the kids to our friends' houses to do the real thing.  The weather was fantastic and we had a ball running down the street and getting lots of yummy candy!  

Mitchell Crabfest!

Brandon went to D.C. early in the summer on business and had the opportunity to have a huge crab meal in Baltimore.  Ever since he got home, he's been dying to take the kids to have their first crab eating experience.  We've been looking forward to it for a long time, and figured this weekend was a good time to do it since he's been gone for 3 months now, working in Idaho.  It was a fun family experience that I'm sure the kids will always remember.  Tess was really excited until she actually saw the crab legs!  She was content to eat her clam chowder and that was it.  Porter LOVED it, and ate his and Tess'!  Owen was scared of the claw, but enjoyed the crab meat and the bread.  Everyone's favorite part was watching the live lobsters in the tank.  Porter kindly asked me on our way out when we were going to come back to have lobster!  I told him to save his allowance for a year and then we could go back!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I know I've been really bad this month about posting pictures of the kids and writing.  It has honestly been a busy month for us!  Brandon is still finishing up an elementary school in Rexburg, and I've been busy keeping the kids happy and volunteering at the school.  We are getting anxious for Brandon to be back home full-time, which should hopefully happen in a few weeks.  He's actually flying in today for a long weekend with us.  For those of you who don't know, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Brandon.  He turned 31 on Saturday.  It's crazy to think we are well into our 30's now!  He likes to rub it in that I was there before he was.  Age?   What's that??!!

The kids are doing really well.  Porter is loving first grade and is kinda sad to be leaving his friends in his class, but is excited to start a new school after Thanksgiving.  He continues to excel in his studies and just recently got his report card.  His lowest grade was a 98%!  We're hoping he continues this desire to study throughout his schooling years.  

Tess is doing well at home learning pre-school with me.  Her writing and drawing is really improving.  It's so fun to see them grow and change.  She has hit that age where all she wants to do is talk.  She is constantly talking about whatever from the time she gets up to the time she hits the pillow at night.  

Owen is becoming quite the little man and wants to be in complete control of his environment.  We've learned that he is quite the climber and mischievous one.  He is constantly getting into things he shouldn't and trying to pull things apart!  He still has two big loves in his life - and those are his blankie and his momma.  He hollers like crazy if I catch him washing his blanket, and he is jealous of anyone I snuggle with!

We're headed out to see the house on Thursday and will fill you in on the progress there later this week!

Have fun getting ready for Halloween!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Washing the Blankie.........

Our sweet Owen is so attached to his blanket that he even takes it outside at times. This morning, I couldn't take the dirty blanket anymore. I kindly coerced him to give it to me. Then I proceeded to put it in the washer. To my dismay, he saw what I was doing, and promptly had a cow. Being the awful parent that I am, instead of consoling him, I grabbed the camera! I did give him hugs and kisses when I turned the camera off.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ridin' The Trike!

I caught Owen riding on the trike this morning, and had to take some video of it! I love how he runs over his blanket, realizes that he wants it, and then keeps going! Don't mind the pink came in the last pack I worries.....he only uses it at home!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Update On The House!

Obviously, this is the front of the house.

This is the big window in the Master bedroom and the view.

This is taken from the front living room - and the open rail shows the bonus room area.

Our back yard!  Not super big, but much bigger than what we have now!

This is taken from the bonus room looking down on to the front living room.

Last Friday night Brandon surprised us and came home for the weekend.  We took advantage of him being home to head out to the house and take a peaksy.  So, here's a few pics of the palace. It's not the whole house - but parts.  Don't ask me why we didn't take any of the rest of the house?!  We'll head back in a couple of weeks and take more pictures then!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Letters To Uncle Adam!

I have a ton of things to post, but wanted to do this one first.  We've had two family nights in a row working on letters to Uncle Adam who is on his mission in Lisbon, Portugal.  Porter drew a fantastic picture and it didn't photograph well, so I took a little video!  We love you Uncle Adam!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Owen's New Trick

Owen loves to race himself!  He'll stand by the door and yell, "Go, go go!"  Then he takes off running!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's time for the Happy Dance!!

I just had to take a second to point out that Owen is 18 MONTHS OLD TODAY.......and we all know what that means........NURSERY!!  I am so excited for this Sunday to be able to attend all the classes at church!!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day 2008

Well, where do I start?!  We had a FABULOUS Labor Day this year!  We started off our day with a trip to the local zoo with some friends and had a ball there.  I'll spare you all pics of the animals, because I already posted animal pictures from our trip to the San Diego Zoo.  The zoo was great and we headed out after it got hot.  The kids loved running around with their buddies and looking at the animals.  I think they had more fun at this zoo simply because their friends were there with them!  Owen was able to see the animals better at this zoo too, because they were closer to the walkway.  Everyone had so much fun that Porter and Owen were asleep minutes after getting back into the car! 

After lunch and a short nap, we headed over to our good friend's parents' home for a bar-b-que and pool party.  It was the PERFECT way to cool off and end our day.  We had some great food, great company, and great swimming!  Days like today remind us why we love Arizona so much.  Gracias to the Matsons for a fabulous day!!

As most of you know, Brandon is helping out on a project up in Rexburg, Idaho and has been coming home on the weekends.  We miss him terribly during the week, but are hopeful he will be able to come home for good sometime in October.  We've been spoiled in August with him coming home every single weekend.  This month will be a little more sparce.  Having him gone helps us appreciate how much we love him, and enjoy the time we have with him when he is home.  School is back in sesssion, so that is
 helping me keep a solid routine with the kids.  I spend my evenings chatting with Brandon on the phone and watching entirely TOO MUCH HGTV!  

Our building permit finally went through with the county and they started on our home last week.  We drove out to see it on Saturday and were excited to finally see more than dirt!  We're hoping to be in the end of November or early December.  We'll keep you all posted on our progress.

We hope everyone is doing well and happy.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAPA MIKE!  We sure miss you and hope all is swell in Korea.  Happy Labor Day to everyone as well!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Watch Out Harvard....Porter Is Almost There....First Grade Started!

We all know how much Porter loves school.  Secretly at night, Brandon and I dream about him going to an Ivy league school.  I guess that means we need to sock away a TON of money for tuition!!  Anyhow, he was SUPER excited as the days approached for school to start.  Much to his delight, it came right after our trip to California and his trip to Texas to see Uncle Mike.  

He is now in Mrs. Needham's first grade class, and has already had a slew of homework.  He loves to sit and study, and makes sure he gets more than the required amount of reading done at night!  We loved his Kindergarten teacher and are grateful for the foundation she laid for him in getting him ready for first grade.  So far we are loving his new teacher too.  She seems excited about what she does and is truly concerned for the learning that each kid does.  We look forward to working with her, and many fun school projects!  (For those of you who don't know.....Red is Porter's favorite color!  He was so excited to get red converse!)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mitchell Family Vacation 2008

Well, we've been home for a couple of weeks now, and I figured it was about time that I wrote about our trip!  It's about a 5 hour drive to San Diego from here and the kids did extremely well in the car.  This was the first time any of us made the drive from Arizona to San Diego, so it was fun to see all the sights.  We even went through a few border patrol checkpoints!!  
The kids were so excited to stay in a hotel and eat all our meals out!  We spent our first day at La Jolla Shores beach.  It was quite crowded, but we didn't care.  We were just excited to swim in the ocean and build a sand castle.  As you can see from the first slide show, all the kids were buried in the sand for fun pictures!  Owen LOVED the water and at one point, just ran off towards the water right after we set him back down on our towels!  

Then, we spent two days at the San Diego Zoo.  It was a gorgeous zoo full of vegetation and lots of hills.  Our legs were killing us by the time we were done.  The kids loved seeing all the animals and had a ball walking all around.  We learned a ton about where all the animals came from and their efforts to release them back into the wild.  On the last day at the zoo, we went on the double decker bus tour and the kids had a ball riding on top.  Everyone's favorite animal was an otter that LOVED people.  On his little info card it says that after he was rescued, they got him healthy, and then tried to release him back into the wild - - unsuccessfully - - - He was too attached to humans!  He was super sweet and loved coming up to the glass and almost chatting with the kids!

We also had a chance to ride a little train at Balboa Park and played on the playground there as well.  At one point, Tess had to go to the bathroom but refused to use the public one.  She said she could hold it.......and then a few minutes later wet her pants in a panic!  Poor thing, she thought she was going to be in trouble.  We assured her that accidents happen, and I took her to the car and changed her!  After everyone was back in the car and fast asleep we headed to the San Diego temple to check it out.  It was a beautiful sight.

We had a great time as a family and feel fortunate that we made it there and back safely.  We have already started talking about what to do next year!!

The San Diego Zoo