Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas photos

We are wrapping things up here to finish out the year. I know I just said it in the last post, but what a year it has been…

Anyways, we enjoyed talking with family on Christmas. But since we are out here on the West Coast, I thought I'd share some photos of all of us from Christmas Eve.

I had to get my camera and the lights set up for Christmas morning, and part of that was getting everyone in front of the camera.

Leah loved to get Catherine and me in front of the camera for a change.

Happy New Year's everybody!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Letter

Once again, the Christmas tree is up. The kids have hung the decorations with varying amounts of care, and presents are already under the tree. This year has been no different than previous years when I say what a busy year we've had!

You may recall that last year I was selected for promotion to Major. The day finally came this past May. Catherine prepared a magnificent feast, for which my coworkers still approach me from time to time, and much like Chris Farley, ask me if I remember when Catherine brought in all that yummy food. Yup, I remember - it was quite the feast! Since promotions for me are few and far between, Catherine brought the kids to come enjoy. They fooled everyone with their good behavior ;-). My coworkers tell me I am a very lucky person. I know, but it's more than luck; I am truly and richly blessed.

This year our travels took us to Mt. Rainier for several snowshoe excursions (more on the way for 2014!!!), a trip to Miami to celebrate Catherine's parents 40th wedding anniversary, and many local trips. We visited some friends in northern Idaho where Leah took her first skiing lesson and Ian took his first snowboarding lesson; I got to ski through some powder and trees for the first time which was a lot of fun. My brother Jeff braved a trip out west to tackle an epic 5-day hike in the rugged North Cascades National Park. We walked the Copper Ridge trail and looped back via the Chilliwack River trail. The Copper Ridge trail is supposedly one of the preeminent ridge walks in the lower-48 (with the views we had, it has to be!!). We had rain on the first day and again on the very last day. In between it was unbroken sunshine - so we had phenomenal views of mountains, glaciers, valleys, and rivers. We swam in a snow-melt alpine tarn; can you say frigid anyone? 

The upcoming year looks to be fun and full of change for the Skinners. We'll be moving to San Antonio, Texas this summer where I will attend Baylor University and pursue a dual MHA/MBA degree (Healthcare Administration). It's hard to believe I keep doing this to myself, but it is back to school for me. This is the last time I go back to school, and I mean it (maybe). I wish everyone a blessed Christmas, and a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2014!                         Marc

As I'm reflecting on this past year it feels like it's been a calmer one in the scheme of Skinner years.  Marc seems to have covered most of the high lights. The meal I prepared for Marc's promotion was a Southern Style BBQ.  I was glad everyone at his work enjoyed eating it as much as I enjoyed preparing it.  My facebook friends had to put up with my posting about the preparations for a couple of weeks before that event.  I've spent a lot of time running the kids around from place to place after school.  During the summer we tried to get to the outdoor pool on base as much as we could. It will be interesting to live somewhere with AC in the house again after living the last 6 years without it.  I also did a fair amount of canning this summer.  I have done German style pickles, mixed pickles, pickled beets, salsa, apricots, peaches, cinnamon peaches, as well as tried out making a few flavors of jam after taking a class towards the end of summer.  So I made a spiced plum, serrano peach, and a pumpkin apple jam.  I still enjoy trying out new recipes on the family and experimenting in the kitchen.  I also have started having the kids pick a meal to cook once a month where I supervise them preparing it.  For the first meal Leah picked a chicken with roasted sweet potato with a homemade bbq type sauce, and Ian picked cornmeal coated fish sticks that he hand cut from cod fillets and served with sweet potato wedges.  They both did really well with minimal issues.  My big project for the new year is going to be getting rid of the stuff in our house that we don't want to have anymore after we move.  I've already started to sell some items on the local yard sale website, and I've been working on getting our large freezer emptied out.  I hope everyone has had a wonderful year!


Merry Christmas everybody! I love my family, my friends, our nice house, and a nice bed to sleep in. I've had a good time this year visiting Mt. Rainer, Abby and Pop in Miami, and camping with Daddy. I did an all-night hike with the Boy Scouts. It was a loooooong walk. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Ian

When I learned to cook I started to understand but not that well.  You need to pay attention to what you are doing in the kitchen.  Love is the most important ingredient in the dish.  I skipped Daisies (and I'm talking about Girl Scouts), and I am a Brownie now.  When I first got there I didn't have many friends, but then I caught up.  One of my friends from school is also in the troop.  When I grow up I want to work with my brother and live in Hawaii if I can.  I have such a wonderful life! When I was a baby I got an elephant & her name is Ellie.  I really love her, she's so cute.  When I look at her it looks like she's happy that I'm there for her.  I love my family.  My family is so nice & I will tell you about it.  My mom cooks. Her meals are so, so good.  I hug her for the meal most of the time, but not that much.  My dad he plays with me and wrestles with me.  He's so hard to beat.  He makes me laugh. My brother loves angry birds go, and he got the blues and bomb on the first day.  Isn't that amazing?! I'm going to tell you about me.  I love to help my mom cook, I wrestle with my dad, my brother and I make up games.  I really like the squirrel and spy game we made up.  I love having my family here!  Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas everybody, and best wishes for a happy New Year!

-The Skinner Family
Marc, Catherine, Ian, and Leah

Merry Christmas!

I can't believe how long it has been since my last blog post! I wish I had a better excuse than "I've been working hard", but that is about as good as it gets. Today was actually the first time I've dug out my camera since late October, so don't think I'm just not sharing. Work has been hectic, and I expect it to stay so for the remainder of our time here at Joint Base Lewis McChord. 

While I haven't brought out my proper camera, I do have my iPhone with me most times, so that has become kind of my day to day camera. The photo above and below are both camera photos. The above photo was just from a bike ride we had taken earlier this fall, the one below was from Ian's Webelos ceremony. Next up is his Arrow of Light!

Ian has been busy with his Webelos scouting - to include an overnight 11-mile hike in the freezing cold (thank goodness it wasn't raining!) with some local Boy Scouts. He didn't complain once, for which I am eternally grateful and equally proud of him. Leah has picked up with the Girl Scouts (Brownie?) and has recently decided to give up ballet. I think she really loves the Girl Scout stuff way more than than the dancing.

This morning I decided to take the kids to the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge for some fresh air, exercise, and to allow Catherine to get some last minute gift-wrapping done. We got home in time for lunch, and here shortly (for me) a nap. Yeah naps!!!!

So now you are all caught up on the Skinners. We'll be posting our Christmas letter shortly. Enjoy your Christmas Eve everybody!