Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays from the Mitchell Family!

Once again, we are going GREEN with our holiday letter!! I love being able to fill everyone in on our year through a TON of pictures!! I am going to put these on in NO PARTICULAR ORDER....to place them all in order, would require way too much thinking on my part, and blogger doesn't allow all the pictures at once! We hope this holiday season finds everyone doing well and happy. I love this time of year and the focus on giving to others, and remembering what's important in our lives. We are so grateful for all that we have, especially our healthy, happy children, and a loving environment to raise them in. So, here goes........2009 for the Mitchells.......

This was taken on a sunny, summer day in front of the Mesa Temple. All three are getting so big!

In February we took a long road-trip to Seattle. My youngest brother, Adam, returned from his mission in Portugal, so we went to welcome him home! Of course, Dad took us adults out for some FINE seafood to celebrate! This is at Salty's.

Just outside of Salty's. Every winter Brandon grows a beard.......

While in Seattle, we were able to see my grandma. It was sure nice to visit her!

Tess decided to give dance a try this year. This was just before her spring performance. She was so excited!

Our FAVORITE thing to do here is head south to Tucson to my grandparent's place and hit the pool! We call them Fafa and Punkin.....sweet nicknames given to them.... I had to get a picture of Fafa in the pool....rarely does he go in!

As most of you know, Brandon and I have hit the ground running this year with getting outdoors and getting in shape! Here is Brandon at a 2,000 meter swim that he did this fall. His goal for 2010 is to beat his time from this year! He's also working towards a triathlon.

This is Tess and her two besties from Dance. This fall they performed at a Daimondbacks game and had a ball! For the coming year, she wants to try sports. So, we're headed to the land of soccer and T-ball in 2010 for her! We'll see which one she likes most.

We had a way fun visit in October from Amy, Chris' wife. Amy and I have gotten quite close over the years, and it was fun to have her here to bond with. I coerced her into a race with me. We had a blast!

Here she is with the kids....don't mind Porter's sour face.....you can't make everyone happy!

Owen found the baby powder and went to town one day!

Owen turned 2 in March, and all he wanted to do was head to Agua Caliente in Tucson, and feed the ducks! We can't believe he's about to turn 3 now! He's in the midst of potty-training and catching on like a champ!

Porter turned 7 in June and had some friends over for a super fun sleepover. We hit the pool, a movie, and the off-road track over by our house. Needless to say, those boys were TIRED when the party finally ended!

Adam flew down here for some R&R after his mission, and we took him down to see Fafa and Punkin. This is at Agua Caliente, our favorite park. He was here for 2 weeks, and we enjoyed our time with him.

We also were blessed with a visit from Kevin in July. He had just returned from Iraq. We loved having him here, and I was more than thrilled that he had made it home safe. I cried like a baby when I saw him walk off that plane!

Adam and the fam at Fafa and Punkin's house! Adam just recently left for basic training in the Navy. We wish him luck and safety on this new adventure in his life!!

We took the kids for a hike at Lost Dutchman State Park near our home. We sure love being outside! We love it here in Arizona.

When Kevin was here we took a super cool drive along a string of lakes just north of our house. The kids had fun learning how to skip rocks with "Uncle Manny!" Owen deemed him Uncle Manny because Kevin bought him a Handy Manny toy....go figure.....but, hey - we LOVE nicknames in our family, so it will last!!

The best part of our block fence.....CHALK DRAWINGS!

Everything is more fun when Dad is helping!

Porter is in second grade this year. He's at a new charter school, and doing quite well! We're very happy with the switch in schools. He just won the spelling bee in his class and will be competing against the whole second grade on January 11th!

Tess is in a Montessori pre-school and is excelling there. She's already reading 3 and 4-letter words! We are so pleased with her teacher, and the progress she is making. Watch out kindergarten.....Tess will be there soon!

Tess broke her arm this spring. Honestly, we were completely surprised that it took this many years for someone to finally break a bone!

The kids have the BEST FATHER EVER. He improvised his own slip-n-slide out of painter's plastic, dish soap, and the hose! Even our neighbors were watching from their upstairs windows! Everyone had a blast!

Easter 2009.

My parent's moved back to Seattle this year from Georgia. They drove through Phoenix on their way home, and we got to spend a couple of days with them. It was so fun to have them here!

Porter has gotten all his "smarts" from Papa! Here they are putting together a science project!!

We sure enjoyed our time with my folks. The kids loved having Lucy, their dog, here too!

While in Seattle, the kids put on a play for everyone. Here they are with their cousins.

Miss Tess turned 4 in February, which means she's approaching 5 soon! We can't believe how fast time is flying by for us.

We had a fun visit from Nana in September. We always love having her here. She keeps us busy, and keeps us up late playing cards! We took her to our favorite country restaurant here in town for some good cookin' and some country dancing!!

Brandon and I ran in the Saguaro National Park Labor Day run in Tucson. It was so fun to finally do a race together. We look forward to doing many more together in the future. I am running in a marathon in January, but I can't quite get him to do that long of a race.....maybe in 2011!!

Well, it's been a fun-filled, adventurous year for us! We're looking ahead to a new year full of new goals, challenges, and change. May the Lord be with all of you in the coming year as you embark on your adventures. We love and miss everyone!

Brandon, Julie, Porter, Tess, and Owen

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Well......It's About Time!!!

They say there is way more joy in the journey than in the final destination......so, following true to that adage, we've been ENJOYING OUR JOURNEY!!! I used to be so good at keeping this updated, alas, life has caught up with me, and I've gotten myself behind once again! For those of you who follow me on Facebook - you've seen what we've been up to! So, to fill the rest in on our happenings, I've added some pictures, in no particular order, to get you up to speed on the Mitchell household!

I ran my first HALF MARATHON in late August......in stinkin' hot weather! But I did it! Now....on to the next!

Nana came for a visit in early September, and we had a ball wrestling, shopping, playing cards....and all around enjoying time with her!

Porter and Tess chillin' with Nana!

We drove down to Tucson too see my grandparents for Labor Day, and while we were there......Brandon and I ran the Saguaro National Park Labor Day 8 Miler. We had a ball running together and enjoying the scenery in the park.

Here we are coming across the finish line!!

There's nothing better on a HOT DAY in Arizona, than sugary, frozen treats! Tess, Porter and Owen are chowing down!

Thanks to our good friends, Chris and Becky, we've found our new favorite hot spot in town.....San Tan Flat.....it's a yummy place to hang outside or inside and eat. We had to take Barb when she was here. We knew she'd love the country atmosphere. We even went back late one night so we could do some mean country dancing!

Tess' dance group had the opportunity to dance at the Diamondbacks game on September 21st. It was so much fun to see her out on the field doing their number! Here she is with her two besties from class....Kynslee and Gabrielle.

As most of you know, Brandon and I have dived in head first into the much loved outdoor fitness world here in Arizona. Brandon swam in a 2,000 meter race a few weeks ago, and finished good and strong! We were so proud of him.....2,000 meters is a LONG swim! I'll keep you posted......he got his birthday present a few weeks early......and is now the proud owner of a fancy new road bike......watch for news of his first triathlon coming soon!

The kids are all doing really well. Porter and Tess are both excelling like crazy at school, and we're happy to report that 9 weeks into the school year, no one has gotten sick! knock on wood..... Owen is enjoying all the activity and energy that the older kids bring home. He loves working on his letter sounds with Tess as she practices hers. I've got 15 weeks till my marathon and am looking forward to completing that!

We hope everyone is doing well and happy! We love and miss you all!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Watch Out Pre-School...Here Comes TESS!!

Well, our sweet baby Tess started Pre-school today! She's attending a Montessori school taught by a good friend of ours, and she LOVED it today! We're so excited to see how she progresses throughout the year!

The family tradition, posing in front of the door!

Another studier is born. We wish Miss Tess a fun and happy school year!


Friday, July 31, 2009

On Our Way to Harvard......

In accordance with Welch family tradition, we take pictures of the kids by the front door on the first day of school! Yesterday was Porter's first day of SECOND GRADE!! He started at his new charter school, and we're happy to report that he LOVES it there so far! YAY! We'll keep you posted on his progress as the year continues.

It was sunny out, thus the squinting.

Good luck, Mr. P - we know you'll be the smartest kid in second grade!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Graffiti: Mitchell Style!

We've had quite a bit of rain the last 24 hours, which cooled the weather down for a little while. I told the kids to take advantage of it and play outside. We broke out the sidewalk chalk, and they went to town on our fence!

The best part of their art projects......is the ability to simply hose it off, and start over!