Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

Wow, 2011 has come and gone! Welcome to the 2011 Lapointe Family Wrap-up. We are looking forward to celebrating our first Christmas at home and while we will miss seeing all our family and friends in California, we are excited about beginning some of our own family traditions. Looking back over the year, I think the theme would have to be growth. We have seen our community grow, taken on new leadership roles, expanded our roster of visitors and are eagerly anticipating the growth of our family! Needless to say, it was a very full year.

We'll start with the kids, isn't that what parents always do! Audrey Grace turned a very precocious 4 years old in 2011. We have been very blessed to see Audrey's sensitive heart this year witnessed through her compassion for fallen trees, and fallen animal friends.
Elliott Ryan turned 1 (though he was sick for his birthday party) and while we are still learning about his personality, seems to be a ham like his Daddy.
The big news of 2011 definitely has to be the addition of baby #3 due May 15, 2012. We are really excited to see our family grow but recognize that moving from man-to-man to zone defense will probably be quite interesting. We also welcomed our beautiful niece Eleanor to the world. Ashley got to go to California for the baby shower and to meet Eleanor two weeks after she was born and we are blessed to have had that opportunity.
We have also seen growth in our community. We are so blessed to be a part of a church teeming with young families to share life with. Audrey attends a home school co-op (or drop-off school as she calls it) with other 3 and 4 year olds from our church. The Moms take turns teaching and coordinating field trips 2 days a week. Audrey loves it and the creativity present in our community is astounding. We have also started camping with some of our friends. We both have fond memories of camping as kids and it is really exciting to have a group interested in making that happen. We're not going to lie, its kind of crazy with 9-12 kids under 5 but the best kind of crazy.
In the midst of all this, we have taken on new leadership roles as well. Ashley took on a position as Program Manager at Beads of Courage. She works about 15 hours a week while the kids are "resting" and while it has been challenging, she enjoys contributing to the organization that she saw make the most challenging life circumstances a little easier for families dealing with pediatric chronic illnesses.
Eric continues to work at U.S. Dream Academy and as he has gotten more comfortable with his responsibilities, has taken on some leadership roles at church. He currently serves as "money guy" managing church finances with another guy from church and is serving on the Transitional Advisory Board as we get ready to set up formal elders. As with any small church, we also both help out with hospitality (OK Ashley takes care of that) and volunteer in the nursery. We have seen God move in some pretty amazing ways and feel blessed to be part of such an amazing ministry.

Finally, we welcomed a litany of visitors this year. This is especially exciting to us because we were worried that when we moved back east, we wouldn't see any of our friends and family from Cali. Not in any particular order, we hosted Gogo and Grandpa Larry (Ashley's Mom and Step Dad), Poppy (Eric's Dad), Auntie Lauren, Grandma and Grandpa (Ashley's Dad and Step Mom), Auntie Lidia (twice), Todd Simonsen, Dave, Jenn and Eleanor Costillo, Bob Harriman, and Kate Farah. The basement has been busy!

All-in-all it was a very good year. We are continually challenged to stay in the moment and enjoy this (often crazy) season of life. Especially this year, we feel incredibly blessed to have everything we have been given. We continue to pray that God blesses our family with health, prosperity, and relationship and that we use all of those gifts to bless those around us.

Merry Christmas!

The Lapointes

Sunday, October 2, 2011


We got home from Hilton Head after a 14 1/2 hour drive on Friday, August 26th. We went inland a little to avoid Hurricane Irene evacuation traffic, so it took as a little longer. We also stopped in Harrisonburg to stock up on ice and water. We slept well in our own beds and started prepping first thing the next morning. We didn't quite finish before the rain started, but at least the wind wasn't blowing yet.
Audrey helped fill up the bath tub with water, just in case.
Having trouble going to bed with all the storm noise
The rain and wind pressed on all night, but the morning was clear and calm- but dark in our house since the power with out in the middle of the night. Other than that, the only evidence of Irene for us was lots of leaves down.
A tree in our alley fell, taking out someone's garage and everyone power.
Our neighborhood lost about six big trees
Damaged several smaller trees

Lots of power lines down
Lots of sticks and leaves came down, many of which
would be later collected by Audrey.

We were pleased that Irene didn't cause too much damage, she had weakened to tropical storm status for us. We suffered without power for 4 days which was not too bad all things considered.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hilton Head

Two days after Lidia left, we headed to Hilton Head for some vacation time with my family. We drove to Hilton Head, South Carolina and were treated to a week of fun by my mom and Larry. Joining the fun was Rahime, 'Chung, Lauren, Larry's son and daughter-in-law, two of his granddaughters and his great-grandson. We had a great week, mostly in the water- the beach and pool were great so we made sure to get water 2-3 times a day as evidenced by all of our pictures.
Baby Bunny braving the road

This was the view from a wonderful restaurant, Salty Dog.
Pool time

'Chung, Eric and Michael (Larry's son) playing in the fountain

Liz, Larry's granddaughter and her son, Joshua

Ready for the beach.... Eric even braved the beach solo a few times so that I could go shopping with the girls. Evidently Hilton Head is famous for it's great consignment stores and thrift store- we tried to hit up all but only got to a couple dozen.

At the beach

Audrey and Gogo
My beautiful pregnant sister
We also celebrated my mom's (Gogo) 60th birthday.
Here is the beautiful cake that Rahime (my sister) made and decorated.
When the kids weren't in the water, they were in the cupboards.

I guess that was the only picture I took that was non-water related.
It was a great week, but we had to head back a day early to prepare for Irene.

Lidia Visit- Summer '11

Lidia came to visit for a week in early August. The kids and I picked her up from the airport and treated ourselves to dinner at Chiptole and had ice cream at this place in Baltimore that specializes in veggie ice cream. They have flavors like sweet corn, butternut squash, beet, and spinach. They actually taste much better than they sound. Sugar and cream go a long way!

We went Peach and raspberry picking at our favorite place, Larriland farms.

Elliott was not too sure about the peach fuzz
But, he came around and ate about 3 peaches

Gorgeous peaches
I had a hard time with all the peaches on the ground
Audrey enjoyed climbing for her peaches

My peaches
Lidia and I had 20 pounds of peaches to use... we had bourbon peach cobbler, peach tea, peaches and cream frasiche, and a lot of just plain peaches to eat.

We headed to the raspberry fields. Elliott was excited to get out of the stroller for a bit.
Elliott was a fan of raspberries
and was even willing to share!

Lidia and I got to spend the day together that Saturday of her visit and went to DC. We got to go shopping, see two movies, visit a museum to see the amazing painting below, visited Georgetown and had dinner at Le Pain Quotidien. It was a great day together, free of kids.

We went to Sherwood Gardens to have a picnic one afternoon. It was a cupcake picnic- we picked up some yummy gluten free cupcakes from my friend's bakery and enjoyed them in the gardens.
Elliott trying on Audrey's headband
Audrey posing in a tree

The kids got to climb the favorite climbing tree.
Elliott even joined in with some assistance
He preferred playing in the dirt and got pretty messy.
We had a great time with Lidia, even got to run in the rain (not on purpose and then again on purpose), watch the fireflies, and bake lots of yummy things. My new favorite cake- the chocolate whiskey bunt cake. Thanks Lidia for giving us a special week together!