Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Holidays from the Mitchells: we are still alive!!

I know it has been MONTHS since I wrote on here.....alas....I have no earth-shattering excuse. I've just been busy. These last six months have flown by, yet they've been long at the same time! Go figure. Such is life with a young family. As most know, Brandon was laid off from his job in commercial construction in the spring after a long battle regarding the dishonestly in the company he worked for, and we moved back up to Seattle in pursuit of more work. Phoenix is flooded with these construction guys that are out of work. Although it was hard to leave Arizona, where we saw my grandparents quite frequently, we have really enjoyed being back "home." We have a plethora of family and friends here that have made this rather difficult year for us a great time. We whole-heartedly agree that far worse things could happen to our little family. Brandon has been pushing his resume for months now, in a whole slew of different fields, and we're hoping something comes up soon. He's been doing the Mr. Mom thing in the meantime. I was extremely fortunate to find a wonderful job here. We are both so grateful that I've got a great skill that I could tap into in a time of need. I'm back with Dr. Tanner in Issaquah and loving it there. Funny how things work out, I started with him back in 1996, and I plan to finish with him - or whoever takes over after him - a long time from now!

The kids are thriving at school and thank us daily for moving back to Seattle! We are only about a mile away from my oldest brother Chris and his family, who have 3 kids somewhat close to our kids' ages. They are fortunate enough to attend the same elementary school as their cousins. Who wouldn't love that? Porter is 8 and in 3rd grade and excelling as usual. He is our studier and thinker. We are both certain that this trait, most definitely, did not come from either of us! He is a super sweet child, who loves his Legos more than life, and loves to read. He is loving Cub Scouts and is only a couple projects shy of advancing to the next level. He is quiet and obedient. It's amazing how much he reminds me in every way of my brother Kevin. It's so neat to see family traits passed down. I'm proud to say that he is the bestest big brother any kid could ask for.

Tess is our 5-year-old little diva. She is so much fun, so girly, and so bossy at the same time! That, we are certain, comes from me! It's like watching a mini-me on a daily basis! What goes around, comes around...isn't that the saying?? She is in kindergarten this year and is really enjoying learning to read. She loves to socialize and won't let anyone do her hair but her. She loves to draw and color. We're seeing a little artist in our future! She loves that her father lets her choose her own outfits to wear to school. He will allow combinations that I would never let her walk out the door in! He wants her to be happy, I want her to match. This is why little girls love their dads!

Owen is 3 and is attending pre-school at my brother's house. His wife, Amy, is amazing and has her own pre-school. He knows all his letters, colors, and loves to sing the alphabet song. She is so good with him. We are fortunate to have him attend her school. He loves packing his backpack around and doing his "homework" when the other kids sit down to do theirs. He is the life of the party here at our house. He is so full of life and fun. He is definitely just like his father. He says the funniest things and has the amazing ability to make you feel like you are his favorite person. Just don't ask to borrow his Batcave or any of his Superheros. Those are off limits!

As this year ends and a new one begins we feel grateful for our family and all our loved ones. You all make life fun and enjoyable. If we've learned anything in the last year, it's that the people in our lives are the most important. Our relationships with others are what counts most. Money can be re-made. Our integrity is what matters. Standing up for honestly is what counts. We are grateful to have the Gospel in our lives and the example the Savior set forth for us to follow. We can only pray that we are doing our best in that endeavor. We hope this finds everyone doing well and happy! We look forward to another year with all of you in our lives! We plan on partying like it's 1999 tomorrow, and wish the best to you all as well!

The Mitchell Family

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"If I could deliver you a boquet of freshly sharpened pencils, I would..." If you can guess which movie that quote came win a special prize from me! Anyhow, without further ado....SCHOOL STARTED THIS WEEK! I can't quite decide what is my favorite part about school starting. The smell of new school supplies, the excitement of labeling all the kids' stuff, or the sheer joy in their eyes as they walk into their classroom for the first time!

The start of this school year marks many special things for us. It is Porter and Tess' first year at their new school, Tess enters kindergarten, Owen started pre-school, and the best part......The kids are at the SAME SCHOOL as their cousins, and Owen's pre-school teacher is his Aunty!

They are loving school, and Tess has informed me that the school bus is, "The best thing EVER!" I wonder if she will feel this way when she hits high school......I remember the bus being the WORST thing ever!!

Other than school starting, not much else has been going on. We've really enjoyed our time here in Seattle so far. I'm loving my job and we're all having a blast being near so much family again. We look forward to fall and the change of seasons that we missed during our time in Arizona. We hope this finds everyone doing well! We love you all!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Fresh Start

I know this year I don't win the award for updating the blog's been a rough year!

I am happy to report that things are going much better for us. We moved back to Kent, WA in June to look for work. We knew we'd have better luck here than in Arizona! After a few weeks of interviews, I ended up back with Dr. Robert Tanner, DDS in Issaquah, WA, this time as his office manager. (This is my FOURTH time working for him! I started out at age 19 scrubbing instruments, moved to dental assistant...and now on to admin!) I'm on my second week and really enjoying being back at work. It's been a fun role reversal for Brandon to be home with the kids. The kids are loving having daddy home. He is still pursuing work, but at least I'm out there and have a GREAT job. I can't begin to say how grateful I am that I have a good skill where I can go out and find a good paying job for our family in a time of need. It just reiterates the importance of women having the ability to work and provide when called upon. It has been a huge blessing to our family.

We are LOVING being near family again. We truly have realized how important it is to have them so close. I have told Brandon that we better learn to love the weather here because I don't want to leave ever again!!

We had the honor and blessing of Porter being baptized in June. What a super cool experience for the whole entire family! We feel fortunate that so many family members were able to participate in his special day. Thanks so much to everyone who was there!

I promise to keep this updated more frequently. There is just too much going on in our little one's lives that I don't want to miss documenting....must make note to self to not slack off again!

We hope this finds everyone doing well and happy. I will post a bunch of pictures on the side of the things we've been up to!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This too shall pass.....

As most know, I used to be quite good at keeping this blog chock full of info and pictures about the Mitchell household. Not so much now.....We've had a few rough months here, but alas, we are all alive and doing just fine. I, in no way, intend to whine or complain....simply to start over. We've had the opportunity to reflect on what is real and important in our lives, and the bottom line is:

#1: We have each other, our children, and our extended family and friends who love us dearly.

#2: We will get through this awful mess.

#3: In 6 months we will have a whole new set of problems, so why whine??!!!

#4: We can rest our heads at night knowing we did the right thing. We have our integrity intact, and heaven help us, our children will remember that their daddy stood up for what was right, no matter the consequence.

For those who don't know....Brandon started noticing some financial improprieties at the company he was working for about 18 months ago. He brought it to their attention on 4 separate occasions. The last time it was brought to their attention, chaos hit the fan.....and needeless to say.....they did all they could to shut him up and prevent him from calling the clients that it had affected. Long story short, he lost his job over the situation, but we did what we had to do to rectify Brandon's role in the whole darn mess!

So, we are embarking on a new chapter in our lives and looking for work. We will let you all know what the outcome is when we know! Most likely, we will be heading back up to Seattle where we have the support of family and more work opportunity.

Monday, March 8, 2010

JULIE'S BirthDay

As most of you know, today is Julie's birthday. She is 34 years old and looks more beautiful now than the first time I saw her. Each year she asks for two things for her birthday. In fact, she asks for the same two things for her birthday, Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. One, for me to shave. Two, for me to write her a note. To my shame, I have not always delivered. So I am going to step out of my comfort zone and let everyone know what this woman means to me. Here I go... (I better score points for this)

It was the first Sunday in January of 2001, this was the first time I had ever seen Julie Welch. I couldn't have pictured anyone more beautiful. In the singles ward we belonged to, my brother was the ward mission leader and Julie was a ward missionary. Because we had Elders instead of Sisters for missionaries, Julie was blessed with the task of rounding up guys to go on splits with the missionaries, something no one wanted to do. As ward mission leader, my brother stood up and announced that who ever went on the most splits with the missionaries for the rest of the month would win a date with Julie Welch. I signed up for every split for the whole month.

I couldn't wait to cash in my date with Julie so I called her to let her know I would be taking her out for my prize date the next day. This was the first time we had ever spoken to one another. I took her to Dairy Queen the very next night and nine days later I asked her to marry me.

We would leave for college, have three kids, move A LOT and eventually settle down in a small community outside of Phoenix, Arizona. We are coming up on nine years of marriage this May.

Julie and I have very little in common. She likes romance and drama movies, I like kung fu and action movies. She likes pop music, I like country. She likes to read and I think books are for nerds. But for some reason or another we can always talk and always hold hands when we are walking together.

Julie always wants more romance in our lives. She likes to ask the question, what makes her different from the girl next door, or, why do you love me? (death questions to a man)
My response is most always the same...silence. (the death response for a man)

Julie, I don't know why I love you. I know all the reasons I fell in love with you, from your smile to the way you correct all my grammar mistakes. But what happens when you care for someone and LOVE doesn't mean what you truly feel. Why hasn't anyone invented the feelings that come AFTER love. This is how I feel about you. I see you as a mother with our children. I see you as a helpless romantic and as someone who has dreams and desires for her life. I loved you when I married you and my feelings are far past how I felt that day.

You are a wonderful person and have such a way with others, I could never have. You are truly the best thing in my life and I threw on some of my favorite pictures of you and of us. I also tried to add a song for you as well. Happy birthday and I hope this buys me another 9 years... I love you. (I was unable to post the song on the blog so I will do it on Julie's face book page)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Marathon Rookie: A Beginner's Story

So, the idea of posting my thoughts about this experience has been on my mind quite a bit in the last few months. At many a pivotal point in my life I've sat down to write my "bucket list" as they are called these days. I recall writing one in high school, college, after my mission, and even one after I got married. Who knows where all of those are placed today. They're probably stuffed in a random box in the garage, or long since gone to a landfill or recycling site of some sort. I've made my fair share of unfulfilled goals, many of which I simply cannot remember. One had stuck in my mind for years......the MARATHON..... Who in their right mind says they are going to tackle such a physical feat?? CRAZY PEOPLE!! That's who. Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20, and I realize this is something I could have tackled YEARS AGO, especially when I was single, in college, and HAD TIME TO SPARE!! Alas, my social duties called, and that was my priority. Silly girl.....
Last May I was sitting on the COUCH watching my favorite show, "The Biggest Loser," and saw the final contestants complete a marathon. As I sat there, eating a snack no less, I said to myself, "Self, I can do this!" So, the next day I joined the Arizona Road Racers and signed up for my first 5k in over 10 years. It was time to get my bootie running again. I consulted with my marathon hero, my cousin Sam, and received some wise council on how to start. I laced up my shoes and hit the road. Those first few miles were brutal. What had I done to myself? How did I get so out of shape??!! What on earth am I doing out here?! Those contestants on The Biggest Loser work out for HOURS on end each day....they lift weights.....I'm just a nobody who got off the couch and said I was capable..... I had much work to do. Unfortunately, I had no Mr. Miyagi to train me. I just had a desire. To make matters worse, I had posted said goal ALL OVER FACEBOOK so now I was committed! There was no turning back!
I consider myself fortunate to have met a great gal at our daughter's dance studio. Her name was Becky, and she too had just made the same goal. She was in FAR BETTER shape than I was - and still is for that matter - She took me under her wings and encouraged me to show up at the gym day after day......we ran all summer and built up our mileage. As the months passed by, I had the guts to run in several races, including a half marathon in 100 degree weather....a feat I will never do again..... Alas, the running got easier and the time slipped by. Brandon was a huge support as dinner was constantly prepared late, I was gone many a Saturday morning in the wee small hours to run for HOURS ON END, and lots of whining over sore muscles and black toenails! He caught the bug himself and hit the lakes and pools around here to start working towards a triathlon. He even competed in a 2000 meter open water swim. His birthday present was a schnazzy road bike, that he plans to put many a mile on this year.

January came, and the BIG DAY came..... I was so nervous I wasn't thinking straight. What a cool experience is was to be there with THOUSANDS of people! Even John McCain himself was standing atop a platform waving at us crazy people starting a race through the boring city streets of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe. The race began, and I took off. At first I was filled with emotion as I looked around and saw the amazing amount of NORMAL people out there running right beside me. You don't have to be an elite athlete to do this. It just takes staying power. The miles began to tick by, and I was doing great. I hit mile 20 and HIT THE WALL. We've all heard of it....that place where you feel like your body needs to stop, and it's up to your MIND to keep going. All those weight training sessions that I skipped came back to haunt me. In all my months of running, I got cocky and thought that if I just focused on the long distance running part, who gave a hoot about strength training. So, let's make that Lesson #1 learned: LIFT WEIGHTS!!! I had followed a training guide for beginners, mainly focused on completion of the race, which I was totally fine with. What I hadn't anticipated was the desire that crept inside of me on race morning to just run the hardest I could, for the longest amount of time! DUH!! I think they call that lack of pacing..... So, Lesson #2: If you want to run LONG and HARD, then one must TRAIN long and hard!! This next go around, you bet you'll see me lifting those weights and doing my core workouts like I was SUPPOSED to do the first time. Isn't that what we tell our children? "Can't you just do it right the first time?!" If only we all listened......
Alas, sore muscles and all, I made it to the finish in 5 hours and 32 minutes. Not exactly Olympic timing, but MY timing. That is what mattered, that I had MADE it there! I was balling as I crossed that finish line. All I could think about was the fact that I had done it. I had set a goal and I had achieved it. Sure, I made a truckload of mistakes along the way, but when one stumbles, one picks themselves up and tries again. So, here I go again.....this time I have my sights set on the Tucson marathon in December, and who knows what else. All I know is that I'm not stopping. The running bug has caught me and is here to stay.

2010 Fiesta Bowl!

One of the perks of Brandon's job is an occasional set of tickets to one of the many fantastic sporting events that comes to the grand city of Phoenix. This year we were MORE than blessed to receive tickets to the Fiesta Bowl. As you all most know, Brandon is an AVID Boise State fan. Needless to say - he was TOTALLY EXCITED for the game! Here's some of our good times watching our favorite team WIN!!!

Boise State played Texas Christian University......whose mascot is some sort of frog.....LAME!

The men in action!

Awwwweee, don't we look good in orange and blue?!

Check out the sea of orange behind us. Boise State fans are in a class of their own; loyal as ever!

Thanks again to Dan for our tickets!!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year 2010!!!

We're happy to report that we rang in the new year happy and healthy......with an end of the year trip just days after Christmas to the ER.....yep, that's right.....I said it........THE EMERGENCY ROOM....... I'll start with a little back-up......Like MOST MOTHERS in America, I've put off buying Legos for a multiplicity of reasons, all of them rooting in safety. I'm paranoid that someone will swallow one, step on one, or worse.......stick one in one of the many orifices of the body......but, our oldest, Porter, is 7 1/2 now, and we felt we owed him huge. So, along with Santa, he was granted a long-standing wish of achieving such gloriously, over-priced items. He hit the jackpot this Christmas. His ever-amazing father, spent the majority of Christmas day putting said Legos together for the child in awe. As most curious sisters are, Tess lingered for days, eyeing such wonderful items that she was to stay clear from. A few days after Christmas, Brandon was out cycling, Owen was watching a movie, Porter was at the dining room table with his Legos, and Tess was playing quietly in her room with her new dollhouse and princess dolls. I had a thought....."Wow, all the kids are playing so nice....I think I might go take a nice bubble bath." Brandon walked into the bathroom a few minutes later to inform me that he had returned from his ride, and was leaving for a jog. He told me the kids were still all doing well, and leaving each other alone. Not 2 minutes after I heard the front door shut, Tess came running into the bathroom screaming, "I'm so SORRY.....It's STUCK, MA......HELP ME!!!!" To which I replied, "What is stuck??!!" "A LEGO," she exclaimed! I jumped out of the bath, grabbed a towel and the tweezers, and laid her on her back. I could not get to the darn, baby-blue sucker. Needless to say, she wasn't exactly the most cooperative of patients.......So, panic sets in and I immediately see visions in my head of her face swelling and dire infection setting in. I dressed in a fury, got everyone in the car, and raced to the Urgent Care. After much prodding, and a whole lot of screaming......we were on our way to the hospital.....the darn thing would not budge. Several hours later, the ER doctors and nurses were unsuccessful as well. They tried their hardest, but patient compliance was most likely their hardest obstacle. We left with the Lego still firmly holding on to the inside of her left nostril. Long story short, we got lucky the next day, and were able to retrieve our little friend......and lo and behold......IT'S NOT EVEN A LEGO!! Who knows what the darn thing is. Porter said it was from a Kinex set, who knows! So, you may ask, "What is the moral of this story?......." Moms NEVER get to take a break without some sort of dire consequence!

If anyone can identify this object, please call the Mitchell household.....

On New Year's Eve we took the kids to a fun restaurant here in town where we ate outside and made some s'mores!

Tess' marshmallow caught on fire!

This is going in the BLACKMAIL archives.....Owen loves Tess' new princess barbie dolls! He's been known to take them to bed at night!

PROOF!! Tess and Porter made it to MIDNIGHT!

Our New Year's Eve festivities were filled with games!!

Tess got a Build-a-Bear gift card from Papa and Grandma for Christmas. Here she is giving her new Hello Kitty a bath at the store! What a fun experience.

On New Year's Day we took the family to the movies with some good friends of ours. The boys saw Alvin and the Chipmunks and the girls saw The Princess and the Frog!

We hope everyone is having fun starting on their new goals for the year! We love you all!!