I’ve never written a Christmas letter before, but here it goes. I figured doing it on my site would enable me to post many photos and videos from our year – for a fully interactive Christmas letter. For those of you who received my website card in your Christmas card this year and are visiting Bakerlady for the first time – welcome! So glad you came to check out the letter!
2010 was full of excitement, adventure and big events for the Pitts Family. We started out the year properly with a Mexican Cruise with the Spragues (Tonya’s Dad’s side of the family). 19 of us traveled for a week together on the Carnival Splendor – thankfully it was not the voyage that ship went dead in the water. We visited Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan and arrived home safely with power and a complete absence of SPAM. Thank you again to my grandma for blessing our family with such an amazing vacation. She is wonderful! Additional thanks to our wonderful small group friends who watched the little rugrats so we could enjoy such a delightful trip without any parental responsibility.
We also went on an extended family trip to California this year with my siblings, parents and their families. We drove to Windsor, CA – stopping for a couple of days to visit Anna Pitts in Oregon and stayed a little over a week at a gorgeous resort nestled in the midst of Sonoma wine country. Madison and Donovan had an absolute blast playing with their cousins for a week and the adults enjoyed relaxing by the pool, golf, long walks, BBQs together, trips to San Francisco, The Armstrong Woods, visiting the Schulz Museum, tasting In-N-Out for the first time (wow – so yummy!!) and a day of wine tasting. It truly was an incredible time of relaxation, connecting with each other, laughing, playing, enjoying the gorgeous scenery and just being thankful for the amazing family God has given us. I cannot thank my parents enough for their generosity providing such an opportunity to make memories together. At the conclusion of our Windsor trip, two of my sisters and I took Madison to Disneyland for the first time. She was absolutely delightful in her exuberance and joy at the happiest place on earth. She charmed every person she met, garnering us free fast passes and special attention from all the princesses. Although she was just barely tall enough to ride them all, Madison LOVED the “big rides”, especially Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Space Mountain. A girl after my own heart. We had a terrific time! As you can see in the video, Madison has her mother’s dance moves (not a good thing) and also inherited my klutz gene. Poor thing.
Zack went through some big work changes this year. He switched from directing web development to a business development role at FGI in February. One thing he never wanted to do was be in sales, yet that’s where he was most needed. Never one to shirk away from a challenge, Zack threw himself into the new role and found it incredibly rewarding. However, after 6 months of 60 hour work weeks, we had to make the difficult decision for Zack to leave the company to get back some work/life balance in our home. FGI had become like a family to us and we miss the folks there a lot. Zack is now back at AT&T where he has a mandatory 40 hour work week only. (Hooray!) This has freed him to be home much more and also has given him the opportunity to jump into serving our church as the lead developer for the website there. Currently he’s working on a total redesign that’s expected to launch early in the new year. The kids love having daddy home to play with in the evenings and I do too!
I (Tonya) had a year full of new experiences. I started this blog in January, but wasn’t really sure what direction to take it. There wasn’t any firm vision until the end of the summer. Bakerlady was revamped and with the new direction (spiritually full and physically starving) readership has gone from about 50 views a month to around 1000 every week. I’m so blessed to get to share my devotional thoughts and recipe ideas with my readers. You all encourage and support me and I love you for that. I think it’s fantastic that I get to share what God is teaching me – and hear back that it’s touching others lives as well. And, you’re trying the recipes! It’s so fun to hear back from people on their successes in the kitchen! In addition to full-time mommyhood and being Bakerlady, I also started producing services for church in April. It has been challenging and confusing at times as I learned the ropes of so many details that go into a service running smoothly. Lighting, staging, singers, band members, pastors, sound and visual components all come together each Sunday and God shows up. It’s fantastic to be a part of it all. In July, I said good-bye to my twenties and celebrated with a huge BBQ party with many friends and family. So far, I’m really digging being in the thirty-something club. Thank you to everyone who celebrated with me, it was a great day! Lastly, I volunteer as the MC for my MOPS group a couple of times a month. The ladies there are a huge support to me, and I get to dabble back into public speaking, which I’ve missed more than I realized the past 4 years.
Madison started preschool in September and turned four a few weeks later. She loves school! She continually amazes us with her intelligence, humor and language skills. She is on the cusp of reading, enjoys hearing a word and sounding out the letters in it. Maddie continues to love books. Zack and I spend many hours with our girl and her latest favorite in our laps and she “reads” them to her brother all the time. She also has learned to write her name, and is (like her grandpa Jeff) a lefty. She loves to dance and changes her clothes about 5 times a day – usually wearing hearts, stripes and various bright colors all together. She also delights in being silly with her daddy. The biggest event in Madison’s life this year was that in October, shortly after her birthday, she asked Jesus to forgive her of her sins and live in her heart forever. My daughter is now my sister in Christ. I’m totally jealous that Madison talked to her daddy about it all when I was away from the house – but thrilled beyond words that she had such a heartfelt and real experience with the Lord.
Donovan turned two this month and his vocabulary has suddenly exploded. He must learn a dozen new words every day. It’s incredible. He is simply the most delightful child – smiling and laughing all the time. He loves to play with trucks (“frucks”) and trains. But frequently is roped into playing dress up with his sister. “Playing” meaning Madison dresses him up like a princess and tells him how beautiful he is. He recently switched into a “big boy” bed – but has spent most nights since partially on the floor. Donovan also has a daily love affair with food. He most certainly got that from me. He also is the spitting image of Linus from Peanuts – always carting around his blanket. It’s adorable.
We welcomed a new addition to our extended family this year as my sister Elizabeth got married in October. We love our new brother Fred. Especially Madison – I think she’s a little peeved that Lizzy got to marry him instead of her. We are so excited for the newlyweds as they begin their life together. Also, we were thrilled to celebrate with my sister Amy as she got her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Washington – she’s currently finishing her teaching certificate and will be joining the ranks of teachers next school year. I could not be more proud of her.
Zack and I are looking forward to the next year as we anticipate all the wonderful things God has in store for us together. We thank the Lord for every experience of the past year and for each of you as well. Thank you for being a part of our lives! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May God bless you richly as you celebrate the perfect gift of Jesus this season.