Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

Historically when we've sat down to recap the year, we've been amazed at how fast the year has gone. This year however, is markedly different. As hopefully everyone knows by now, we decided that it was time to launch on a great adventure, we moved to Maryland. As with any grand adventure, each new adventure has packed the last 12 months with what feels like a lifetime of memories. Our year has been full of of difficult decisions, family reunions, boxes, sad goodbyes, job hunting, boxes, real seasons, adjustment, and oh yeah, boxes. So while many things did happen since last we wrote, please forgive us if we can't get very far away from the move and its impact on our lives.

We started taking seriously about moving in July, right around my birthday. I say seriously because it seems like we have always had discussions about wanting wide open space, a slower pace of life, and maybe most of all, we wanted Audrey to grow up near at least some of her cousins even though she only has one (for now.) The decision to actually “pull the trigger” was not an easy one. We have grown to love Biola University (the only place Eric worked since he graduated,) The City of Hope Pediatric Unit (where Ashley loved her job as a Pediatric Oncology Nurse) and many, many wonderful friends. Undoubtedly, most difficult was the decision to leave our family in Southern California.

We've been asked several times whether we think moving to Maryland was a good decision. After thinking through an answer to that question, we have come to the conclusion that our adventure cannot be measured in terms like good and bad. Ultimately, we believe that God has confirmed our decision to follow Him on this amazing journey. Our transition to Maryland has been really good thus far. There have been very difficult moments where we felt completely lost without our familiar surroundings but also amazing moments like walking through the nature preserve near my parents house with the fall leaves in full color. Fortunately, living with Cedulie and Luis (Eric's Mom and Step-Dad) has been a enjoyable for all parties and Audrey LOVES spending more time with her cousin 'Fia (Sofia.)
In terms of work, Eric is in the midst of a job search specifically looking in higher education and non-profits with a higher education focus. Lucky for us, there are many schools and universities in the area and Washington D.C. is a treasure trove of non-profits. Ashley has decided to stay home to raise Audrey (and hopefully more kids in the years to come,) a decision that everyone agrees is a the most important one we can make right now. She may look for some part-time work once we figure out where we are going to live.

The highlight of our year was ironically our goodbye party at the farm. It felt a little like being at our own funeral but it was amazing to have so many friends together at once. We will always remember being blessed by so many people who mean so much to us, in a place that will always be our first home. The most difficult part of our transition is being so far from all of our friends and family. It is easy to take for granted the ability to call up a friend and go out for coffee (or something.) Although we feel a little bit like life is paused right now, we look forward to seeing what God has in store for us as get more established here. We miss you all very much and hope to see you soon.


Eric, Ashley and Audrey Lapointe

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving in San Francisco

We got a chance to go back to my sister's house in San Francisco for Thanksgiving. It was a great time to reconnect with family. My mom and little sister joined us from SoCal and Eric's mom and step-dad were able to come also to visit Susan, Eric's step-sister, and her boyfriend Tom. We spent a day exploring the best of San Fran's attractions using some of the city's options for modes of transportation- we used BART, the cable car, a public bus, and our own two feet (those hills are rough to walk up pushing a stroller with Audrey getting the best end of that deal ).
The girls on a cable car
Eric got to hang off the side. I had to sit with Audrey inside
because evidently the city does not want to be liable if babies fall off.
Eric and his mom, Cedulie at Fisherman's Wharf.

At Ghirardelli Square. Thanks for wearing reflective gear Tom!

Susan, Audrey, Tom and me waiting for a bus.

We went wine tasting with the family in Healdsburg
Beautiful autumn vineyard
At Foppiano's

Sue and Tom entertaining Audrey

Driving home from wine tasting my sisters, Audrey and I got reared ended by a fire department's ambulance (which is quiet big compared to our little Subaru). We all suffered some pretty bad whiplash, but were happy to all be safe.

My sisters and I cooked all day Wednesday and Thursday preparing for the Thanksgiving feast for 16 adults and 4 kids. The menu consisted of cornished game hens, spooned corn bread, garlic sour cream mashed potatoes, pineapple yam casserole with marshmallows on top, pumpkin souffle, merlot cranberry sauce, fried rice (for the Chinese contingence), green bean casserole, with the typical but tasty apple pie, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie topped with fresh whipped cream using my sister's new cool gaget.

The table set for 20
Enjoying some good food.
We made it home safely after having our flight was delayed and rerouted to another airline. Our new flight was direct which we appreciated. Our luggage didn't make the transfer with us but were thankful it to happened at the end of or trip rather than the beginning. We were a little worried because our car seat and coats were in the checked luagge. Luckily they have car seats available at the airport for these situtations and it was not too cold (only 35 degrees). The airline was kind enough to deliver the bags to us the next night.

Overall, we had a wonderful trip. It was wonderful to be with all that family for Thanksgiving. Though it was a little difficult to leave, and we don't totally feel at home in Maryland yet, we are enjoying all the experiences that God is allowing us to experience during this unique time in our lives.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Getaway

Eric's mom and step-dad (whom we are living with) treated us to a weekend away and more importantly, a weekend sans Audrey Grace.
Yes, we did sit in those Adirondack chairs and watched the sunset over the Chesapeake Bay.

This was the coolest tree because it had ever color of leaves (green, yellow, orange, red, and brown) all at the same time. I was so impressed that I brought a bag of leaves home with me.

We did some hard-core sight seeing, actually we just went to the only interesting thing around, Turkey Point Lighthouse (and there were no turkeys to speak of, just a point and a lighthouse). I think I want lighthouse stairs in my next house.

Is this for real?

I never thought I would live to see the day that Regular gas was under $2.00 again. Sorry, Californians you may never see that day again. I was actually disappointed to see that we had a full tank when we drove by this gas station.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!

This year we went to George and Stefanie's house (Eric's sister and brother-in-law) for a Halloween party. We enjoyed some good friends, pumpkin chili, corn bead, apple cake and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (thanks Abbie- they have been my favorite since nursing school).
The cousins and their Grand-Maman (yes... dressed as a cow.)
Our Little Chick
Sofia as the Cutest Ladybug Ever
Yes Audrey got leaves for Halloween instead of candy,
but she didn't seem to mind.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fun in Maryland (and DC)!

We have been in Maryland for two weeks now! My best friend Lidia just visited us for a weeks, so we have been preoccupied exploring our new turf. Here are some pictures of some of our outings.

The Capitol
Walking around DC
Visiting the Botanical Gardens (one of my favorite places)
Resting in the Orchid Room

We went to Mount Vernon, George Washington's home or should I say estate.

As you can tell Audrey and Eric spent a lot of time together and his back felt it!
We went apple picking per Lidia's request at Larriland Farms (that rhymes with Maryland- I think they planned that). I have never seen so many apples in my life. I ate about four or five there and we brought 20 pounds home to make apple pies, apple butter and other assorted apple things.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We made it!


The Lapointe family is now in Maryland. I arrived last night with Audrey. She did very well on the plane other than 30 minutes when she was trying to fall asleep. It was weird seeing all of our stuff here already. It feels like living in two different worlds at the same time. Eric's family unloaded our truck last weekend- a big job that we are so thankful for. Eric arrived tonight at 5:30 and Audrey did not let go of him to first hour. We have some settling to do before it starts to feel like home, but we are excited to finally be here. In less important news: we really like the state flag.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Middle America

My husband is literally in the middle of America. Eric left Saturday at 6 am to drive across country. Our good friend Randy is driving our second car- thanks Randy! The first night they spent in Grand Junction at Eric's grandmother's house. He enjoyed the Rockies this morning; they even got some snow at the summit. Then, they were off the flattest part of our country. He is not impressed by the high winds and striking lack of anything scenery. Tonight they are in Salina, Kansas. They have two more days of driving to go and will total 2,720 miles. Audrey and I fly out in the morning (we got the best end of that deal). Please pray for our safety as we all travel.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Farewell Malaika

Tonight my sister and I made the hard discusion to put down our family dog, Malaika. She was about 15 years old and had many health problems. Lately she was having a lot of respiratory issues and my little sister, Lauren had a very rough night with her Saturday night. She continued to have increased effort to breathe and poor oxygenation and we we decided that is was not right to let her suffer anymore. There were about five other families saying goodbye to their pets at the local vet's office. It was so sad. I left wondering how anyone could ever work there then realized that's what people always said about my job. Malaika was a great dog and Lauren loved her like her own child. The house already has a strange silence. I feel like I have already said goodbye to too many pets this week.