Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Letter 2007

Greetings friends and family. Welcome to our family Christmas letter. With our jump into the 21st century (this is the first year we've written a blog) we figured we'd save some money and present our letter online. Needless to say, it has been an eventful year. As most of you already know, we welcomed the newest member of our family, Audrey Grace on July 4, 2007 and nothing has been the same since. She has been an amazing blessing to us (and our families) and she has definitely made this Christmas season uniquely special. However, starting out with Audrey is getting ahead of ourselves. There was a lot that happened before we welcomed Audrey into the world.

In January, we decided to take one last vacation sans kids with our friends Dan and Erika (who were also pregnant.) We took a cruise of the Western Caribbean and though the rocking boat was a bit much for the pregnant mommies, we had a wonderful time.

When we got home and settled, we realized that we didn't have too much time before the baby arrived and a lot to do to get the house ready. For those of you who have never seen our house, we live in about 800 square feet and at times it felt pretty tight with just the two of us. The family room became the nursery and Daddy made the first of many sacrifices by buying a flat screen TV to go in the Living Room (needless to say, you can't have an HD tv and watch regular programming so we had to upgrade to HD DirecTV as well.) The nursery looks really great and it has actually been nice to have all of the baby's stuff 5 feet away instead of upstairs or down the hall. The next few months were spent getting ready for baby, washing walls, etc.

In June we decided to celebrate Eric's 30th birthday early. Eric's birthday is July 20 and we figured that we would be in no shape to host a party since Audrey was due July 15th. The party was a wonderful mix of friends from Revolution (our church), Biola (where Eric works and were we both did our undergrad) and family. Eric's family from Baltimore happened to be here for Ashley's shower so it made the birthday all the more special. Eric always said that he wanted to have a baby before he turned 30 so we got in just under the wire.

In late June, as were finalizing preparations for the baby, we received some interesting news. Audrey Grace was breech and not likely to be born naturally in the position she was in. It took some time to adjust our expectations (not the last time we will have to change our plans for a little one) but we eventually warmed to the idea of a C-section. For any of you who know Eric, he was excited about being able to plan ahead for the actual birth. We went in for an appointment on July 3 and our doctor told us that he had an opening to do the C-section on the 4th. Audrey Grace was born on July 4th at 9:15 am at 6lbs 9oz and 19 inches long. Life will never be the same.

The next few weeks were truly a blur. Eric had the blessing of being able to take a month off of work to "bond" with the baby (that's what the state of California calls it.) We had lots of help from friends family along with meals from Revolution. In August we had our annual family camping reunion at the farm. This is the second year we have had members of both of our families spend the night in tents in our yard. We ate lots of great food, played many games and are pretty sure Audrey wasn't put down except to sleep for three days straight.

Audrey has had the chance to do quite a bit of traveling in her first six months of life. In September she took her first road trip to visit Auntie Rahime and Uncle Chung in San Francisco. She requested that we bring along Auntie Lidia and we were happy to oblige. It was a great time of rest and relaxation and Audrey basically slept the entire drive.

More recently, we spent Thanksgiving in Baltimore celebrating the birth of our niece Sofia Amber. Eric's sister Stefanie and brother-in-law George welcomed their first baby into the world on November 14th and we celebrated Thanksgiving dinner with the "Baltimore contingent" of Eric's family and George's family. With 25 people occupying George and Stefanie's house, it was a very full family Thanksgiving.

This Christmas, we can't help but reflect on how blessed we are. We have been having consistent conversations about how richly God has blessed us with a great house to live in, two fantastic (and flexible) jobs, an incredible church, and a beautiful baby daughter. We can't help but be reminded of God's grace in lavishing undeserved blessing on us. It is truly humbling. We hope that this holiday season is a blessing for you as well. We hope to see you all at some time this next year.


Eric, Ashley and Audrey

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Benefits of Mint

While I do enjoy the edible variety of this product, that's not what this post is about. I was reading the latest edition of Fast Company last week (a magazine I would highly recommend) and I came across an article about The guys at set out to help the college-aged community get a better handle on their finances. In order to accomplish this, they created a quick and dirty online version of Quicken. Ash and I have used Quicken for our budget the last three years but have found it complicated and very time intensive. Needless to say, when I came across this article I was excited. In about 30 minutes, you can set it up so that all of your account information is downloaded to and displayed (in spending categories) in a pie chart mapping your spending habits. It also gives you the option of inputing your monthly budget and comparing your expenditures to your monthly financial goals. The greatest advantage to this tool is that it updates your accounts nightly so you don't have to go in and manually download the transactions from your banks and credit cards. The one downfall to is that they can't track investment accounts (yet.) For those of you that are concerned with online security, you may want to check out their forum here regarding this issue. I'll let you poke around the website yourself but for the truly skeptical, they make their money by advertising other financial organization's products in their "ways to save" section. We've only been using it for a week but so far, we are REALLY excited about this service.


For those of you who read our blog religiously (thanks Mom) you will remember that we "prematurely" tried Audrey in her Johnny Jump Up a few months ago. I am glad to report that Audrey has now completely grasped this ingenious invention and thoroughly enjoys it. Here are a few pieces of evidence.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thanksgiving Trip To Baltimore

Last week we visited some of Eric's family in Baltimore for Thanksgiving. Audrey did great on her first flight across the country. On our second flight from Dallas to Dulles, we were some of the last people to board and as we walked to our seats in the back of the plane, we realized Audrey was making everyone smile as she grinned from ear to ear in her Bjorn. It was like a wave of smiles as we walked down the aisles. Audrey even got to sit in her own seat.
We arrived late Tuesday night (actually early Wednesday morning at 1 am) to George and Stefanie’s house and got to meet week-old Sofia for the first time. We all enjoyed hanging out being aunties and uncles.

On Thursday, George and Stefanie hosted Thanksgiving at their house. Between our family, George's family and friends, there were over 20 people (with enough food for 60.)
Eric's mom (Cedulie) and Step-dad (Luis)

Audrey enjoying time with Luis

Enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner

George cutting the turkey

Giving Thanks for Sofia!

Audrey and her cousins Sofia and Kyndle (George’s niece who is 3 months old)

While we were there, we took many walks and I fell in love with leaves. We were so lucky that the leaves had not all fallen before we got there. Here is a slide show of my many leaf pictures:

Friday, we raked leaves for George and Stefanie filling up 34 huge black trash bags of leaves. I almost fell out of love with leaves, but not before falling into them.

We are looking forward to our next trip in January!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fall Photo Shoot

One of Eric's students from Biola, Adam Kazmierski took some great photos for us this fall. He's even selling them on istockphoto. Here is a slide show of some pictures he took of Audrey (I think her parents are in there somewhere too.)

Gotta Getta Gourd

Sick of pumpkins, I know. How about a gourd? Our friend (Eric's boss) finishes beautiful gourds . He gave us this one last year. Check out his blog, Gotta Getta Gourd, it is awesome if you like gourds.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Welcome Sofia Amber!!!

We are proud to announce the birth of our first niece, Sofia Amber. Congratulations George and Stefanie! Sofia was born Wednesday, November 14th at 11:30 am (Eastern Time). She was 7 lb. 3 oz. and 19 3/4 inches. We cannot wait to meet her in three days when we head to Baltimore for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Chase This Light

Jimmy Eat World's new album "Chase This Light" was released a month ago today. It is my new favorite album and not just because of the cover. My favorite tracks (you know the kind you listen to on repeat) are #2, "Let It Happen" & #8 "Here It Goes."

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Persimmons are fascinating, a fruit few appreciate. The persimmons on a tree on the farm are almost ripe. So far, I do not know what to do with a persimmon other than eat its soft flesh. I found a cookbook with some great ideas, but I doubt I'll find time to try any of them. Let me know if you want any persimmons, we have more than will be eaten. Here are a few pictures of our tree.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Year Ago Today...

we found out we were pregnant!  It is amazing how fast a year has gone and how much life has changed.  It really is hard to remember life before Audrey.  I don't know how many of you heard the story of when we found out we were pregnant, so it you would like to hear it read on...It was a Friday morning, eric was at work and I home doing chores.  My friend Erika called me and while we were talking I mentioned that I was three days late (and usually you can set an atomic clock by my cycle.)  Eric and I were pseudo-trying to get pregnant or as we like to say, "not trying not to get pregnant."  The conversation with her prompted me to want to find out for sure.  I called Eric at work and told him I was late and that we should take a test.  I ended up taking it right then with him on the phone.  When I saw that there were two lines I said "Eric I think we are pregnant!"  As he was yelling in excitement, I screamed, "OH NO!"  At that moment, I realized that the utility sink draining the water from the washing machine had overflowed all over the floor.   In the meantime Eric asked "are you disappointed?"  As I snapped back into the conversation, I realized what my poor husband was thinking.  "Of course I am excited, its just that the laundry water is overflowing."  The truth is that I was excited and amazed that there was a life growing inside me.  I did not have a concept for this little one and for how she would change our lives.  Last Thanksgiving we praised God for our pregnancy and announced to our families of the Lapointe baby to come in July '07. This year we will spend Thanksgiving thanking God for our little Audrey.