Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Andersons!

Dear Family, Friends, and blog followers -

This year has been one of the more eventful years of our married life. We haven’t added any children, nor did we graduate again, but we had a lot happen. Here are some updates from our family and the significant events that happened during the year.

Our Family:

John got roped into running a couple races this year, but he found his nitch in a different mode of transportation, road biking. In June, he sold his motorbike to buy his Specialized road bike and begin training for the Fort Bridger, 24th of July, triathlon. He, Dana and Anika took first place this year. He was recently called to be a Deacon’s Quorum Adviser and enjoys the time he spends with his 16 rambunctious scouts. As many of you know, John is a huge BYU fan, his football team did pretty good this year and they recently beat the Utes, so in his mind the year was a success. He continues the tradition of taking the family to most of the BYU Basketball games.

Dana took up competitive running this year. She began her season with one goal in mind, run the Provo River Trail Half Marathon. She and her sister, Anika, started serious training in June and had a lot of fun running their 6, 8, 10 and eventually 12 mile runs together. This one goal led to many races and experiences that will not soon be forgotten. In October, she joined a team of runner’s from Life Time Fitness to run the Las Vegas Ragnar Relay; 24 hours, 188 miles, and 12 runners (each running 3 legs of the race). Her team placed 2nd, losing by only 6 seconds and she came home with a baton that had, “Almost First” engraved on it. She continues to teach group fitness at Life Time Fitness and Gold’s Gym and this year started teaching for the American Fork Fitness Center.

Hailee continues to enjoy and excel in her gymnastics class. She started preschool this fall and she has loved every minute of it. She likes to learn, but mostly she can’t wait to see what the craft is for the day. Dana’s dilemma now is, what to do with all the “cute” things she brings home! Hailee loves princesses. Her favorite princess is Sleeping Beauty, because her dress is pink and she has blond hair. She is looking forward to Kindergarten this next year almost as much as her Mom and Dad are.

Camryn is in nursery now. She has to begin her 2 hours there with as much drama as she can muster. Tears, screams, tight hugs. . . but she forgets within 20 seconds that she didn’t want us to leave. She’s very social and settles right into her environment wherever she is, making life as a parent on Sunday, much more enjoyable. She has seen her fair share of doctor’s offices in her short 20 months of life, but she will be seeing more of them in the coming months. She has a tufted hemangioma (a purple and red birthmark) on the inside of her left arm. We noticed is starting to grow in July and continued to watch it, despite steroid creams, grow to the point it is at now. She was given steroid injections in the middle of December to hopefully slow the growth until we can get it removed by the plastic surgeon at Primary Children’s in January. We’ll keep you posted.

Events:

House. On February 26, 2009, we closed on our first home in American Fork. If you have followed our moving saga, we had some rough times looking for the perfect home. We wanted a big yard, a finished basement, near schools, a big master bedroom and bath, good size kitchen, and relatively new (nothing 80's or earlier). After many months of looking, we finally found our home on the AF / Highland border. It is not our "dream home", but is very much what we want. It was built in 1994, so it has some updating to do, but we are excited to personalize it to our tastes. We hope we can stay for many years as we love our neighborhood and ward.

Job Lost and Found(?). On September 15, 2009, John received an email from the CEO of Omniture announcing that Omniture was to be acquired by Adobe . . . as in Adobe Photoshop, Flash, .pdf, etc. It was definitely an anxious time for John as he did not know what the acquisition meant for his future employment. Six long weeks later, John found out that he was placed on transition until January 31st, 2009 and given a generous severance package. We were definitely stressed (and still are) as we were not sure that we could find a job at a great company like Omniture, but knew things would work out for the best.

Fast forward 2 months, John now has 4-5 opportunities on the horizon and it is looking more and more like we may even come out with a pay increase and a promotion. Nothing is signed in ink yet, but we are finding that the Lord is blessing us in our time of need. It definitely pays to get your education and professional certifications. We will keep you updated when we have solid news

Mexican Riviera Cruise. In July, John called, and in one of the most spontaneous things he has ever done, told me that he wanted to go on a cruise in December. Dana was really surprised, but very excited to finally go some place tropical and get away from the bitter cold of Utah. Dana’s parents watched the girls (thanks so much!) and we flew to San Diego. We booked it on the Holland America line (which we later found out was more of the 60+ crowd) and had a wonderful time. The food, beds, and service were top notch! Other than the little bit of motion sickness that we had on the first and last days, we loved every minute.

On board, Dana immediately looked for and found the gym so she could continue her morning workouts. John was not as excited, but ended up loving the sea-level workouts. John found that the cooks and bar tenders were Filipino and immediately set out on a quest to find someone that spoke Illongo. He did, and had a great time reliving his time there through hilarious conversation with the staff.

We stopped at ports in Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. All the ports had great weather (80 degree plus) and we found something fun and exciting at each stop. In Mazatlan, we rented a beach spot, Dana tanned, and John swam in the ocean. Dana also braved the waves, but was more concerned that she was going to lose her swimming suit than she was about drowning in the crashing waves (they really weren’t that big). “Wow, the ocean is really salty.” – Dana. After that, we did a little shopping in the Golden Zone and at a HUGE plate of Mexican lobster and coconut shrimp – yum!

videoIn Puerto Vallarta, we booked a shore excursion, a rain forest canopy tour, in Los Veranos. John was a little nervous because he is afraid of heights, but ended up having the time of his life zipping over the treetops on 14 lines. The instructors / entertainers were great as they helped us clip into the lines. They were local Mexicans that had a great sense of humor and kept commenting on how good looking Dana is. At the end of the tour, we enjoyed fresh coconut shrimp and Mexican Coke. By the time we got back on the bus and back to the port, all we had time for was a stop as Wal-Mart (yes, you heard right) to call home and buy some Mexican Vanilla.

Our last stop, Cabo, was definitely the most beautiful and clean. We decided to go through the markets to buy souvenirs from the locals. Dana was pretty nervous about negotiating on price, but John was seasoned from his mission to the Philippines. We ended up getting some rings for Dana, some other jewelry, dresses for the girls, and a couple of wood carvings for John’s office. Good memories. After that, we took a water taxi out to Lover’s Beach (or the other side . . . divorce beach). It was a beautiful paradise. John snorkeled and Dana tanned. What a relaxing venue. We will definitely be going back some day. More details and pictures will follow after we get our blog butts in gear.

We hope you have all had a great 2009 (and survived the economic downturn). We wish you a Merry Christmas, and hope 2010 is the best yet for you personally, as a family, and for our country. We love you and hope to see you all at least once this next year.

Love,

John, Dana, Hailee, and Camryn