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Catching up with the Gribbles (2010 Christmas Newsletter)

January 11, 2011

Mark, Ty, Jennifer and Lily Gribble

To catch you up on what has been going on in our lives over the past year, here is our 2010 Christmas Newsletter.  Happy reading!

MARK’S PAGE

2010 has been a great year and we have loved every bit of it.  I’ve been able to continue using the BBQ pit for good and noble purposes beyond just yummy pork.  In April, we raised over $2500 for our youth at church to go to Peru through our BBQ related auction items.  It never ceases to amaze me what a tremendously generous group of people we go to church with.  As part of the auction, Jennifer seemed to enjoy shopping as we picked up a Peruvian Dinner for 40 and a Cajun Feast for 12 on top of various babysitting services.  I thought I was going to have to get a paper route to help pay for it all.  It was for a great cause and we truly love helping our youth find God in helping some of the poorest people on Earth.

In June, Jennifer and I took a “parents only” trip to Vegas BABY!!  The kids didn’t quite understand why they didn’t get to go.  I asked Ty what he would do on “11”.  He said he would turn 12.  That sealed their fate.  We dropped them off in Dallas and my wife whispered sweet words to me which I’ll never forget.  “The morning flights are looking full.  Would you mind if we flew out tonight and spent an extra night in Vegas?”  It was music to my ears.

It was a fantastic trip that started off STRONG.  After confirming we were on the 10 pm flight, Jennifer books an internet special room at the Flamingo for that first night until our original reservation (MGM Signature) started.  Through the magic of time travel, we landed in Vegas at 11 and headed straight for the Flamingo.  One of the older hotels on the Strip, the Flamingo attracted all kinds of folks venturing into Sin City.

We stood in the check in line for over an hour as one by one the general public was checked into their hotel rooms.  When they shoot Vegas commercials and movies and TV shows, they apparently don’t use the Flamingo Hotel lobby.  We finally arrived to check in after the previous “customer” spent 20 minutes talking to the poor woman working the desk and simultaneously hiking up her strapless t-shirt dress, picking her wedgie, etc.

We strolled up, smiled and asked Nancy (the desk worker) how she was doing.  Those must have been magic words.  She saw we had the internet special and were only staying one night.  She upgraded us to a suite.  We thought this was great!  We thanked her profusely and she then directed us to the 27th floor with our room number.  We noticed in the elevator that the 27th was the top floor and thought; this is going to be great.  We walked down the hall and the suites started getting names associated with them.  We stopped at our room number and it was the Presidential Suite.  We opened the door and there was a living room where 25 could sit on various chairs and couches.  There was a connecting hallway that leads to the bedroom with huge bathroom attached.  The views were awesome.  The décor was still straight out of 1987, but it didn’t matter to us.  For one night in Vegas, the Gribbles were high rollers.

The rest of the stay was at the MGM Signature, which is a non-smoking, no-casino hotel behind the MGM.  It was fabulous. We joined their Prima Card club which granted us access to clubs we were too old to dance in and pools I was far too pale to swim in.  The party pool (Wet Republic) was one of our favorite places to people watch.  We grabbed a spot near the pool stairs and opened up our magazines.  At one point, Jennifer noticed we were the only ones at the pool with something to read.  Everyone else was there to look at everyone else.  I told her we might be the only 2 people at the pool who could read.  As for the rest of the trip, we ate like kings and had a fabulous time.

2010 also brought to a close my work as chair of Phase 2 of our Church (SMBC) Building Committee.  The process took almost 15 months but the results were spectacular.  It was an amazing gift to be able to transform some of the less than perfect spaces around our campus into something AMAZING.  It’s not every day that your peers hand you $3 million dollars and tell you to make God’s house look nice.  Remember, I don’t even get to pick out colors or decorations in my own home.

This has been my 11th year with Aguirre & Fields.  Although work has continued to be a little slow this year, we had spurts of business that made time pass faster this year than last.  We are thankful for that.  I had a co-worker who was on the Biggest Loser start her own corporate fitness program here at work.  It taught us healthy eating habits and the benefits of working out on a daily basis.  Between this 12 week program and Jennifer’s personal crusade against High Fructose Corn Syrup at home, I have lost over 30 pounds and counting this year.

I feel amazing and more energetic than I have in years.  My wife loves the fact that a new and more updated wardrobe is in order.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her support and all men should be so lucky as to have a spouse like Jennifer.  She makes me a better man both inside and out.

We hope that this Holiday Season is filled with the love of God, family and friends.  We feel blessed to have so much of each in our own lives and hope 2011 brings much of the same to you and yours.

JENNIFER’S PAGE

So you think we time things so that you receive our cards right before Christmas, huh?  No, really it’s just our procrastination and the craziness of December. Now that all the parties, concerts, obligations are over, it’s Christmas card time! Writing the newsletter is still one of our favorite things to do each year.  We love to look at last year’s letter and reminisce, then reflect on 2010. Good times…

Our church put on South Pacific for its annual summer musical.  Mark was “Stewpot” and I was “Dinah”.  It was another exhaustingly fun summer of singing and dancing to “Ain’t Nothin’ Like a Dame” and “Wash that Man Right out of My Hair”.

As exciting as our trips to Fentress, Marquez, and Galveston, Texas were this year, one of the best trips was going to New York City for Thanksgiving.  We had four amazing days there to take in what we could since our last trip in 2000. We crammed all we could into the short time but the thing we enjoyed most was just soaking in the city.  Going to cafes, sipping a glass of wine and listening to the sounds of the city.  Some folks love to escape to the country and some love the city…we are definitely city-folk!  The hustle and bustle just put me in a happy place.  The Ground Zero exhibit was…wow…and nothing beats seeing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The last time I saw it in person was in the early 1980s when we lived on Long Island!

I continue to work as full-time mom and work a few part-time jobs.  The mom job seems to get busier each year as the kids get older!  Since Ty is 6 ½ and Lily is almost 4 ½ As they grow, I know that our lives will only become more full.  But, it’s good to be busy and happy.

Ty is enjoying 1st grade and excels in reading.  Many a night he can be found reading past his bedtime until he is told by his parents to “go to sleep!”  We have a hard time getting too mad since he is READING and we were both the same way.  Ty also loves math and seems to just “get it” which is SO not like his Mama.

Ty started karate in January and has gone from a white to yellow to orange to green belt this year!  He LOVES karate and seems to be developing some good habits… concentration, discipline, etc.  We are proud of him finding something and sticking to it. I think Mark enjoys their weekly sparring practice after karate class.  It’s a sanctioned reason to kick and punch each other and then collapse and laugh themselves silly.

Lily turned 4 in August.  PreK, church choir, dance and swimming keep her busy as can be.  She is really relishing her dance class and they gave their first in-class performance last week where it was obvious she LOVES to perform.  (Not sure where she got that trait from, ha! Her brother…not so much…)

We put the kids in swimming as a safety thing because we have a swimming pool in our backyard.  We have kept Lily in lessons for 2+ years because she seems to excel at it.  I remember when Mark took her to a lesson this fall and texted me “Lily can SWIM!!!”

Lily continues to try to keep up with Ty in every way.  We have to remind her that she is just 4 but that doesn’t stop her. She wants to be as strong, fast or smart as Ty and it infuriates her that she is not.  She is in such a hurry to read now that Ty is reading. It’s endearing to watch.  Lily is very much a girly-girl while still tough as nails.  She is unabashedly “Mama’s girl” but keeps Daddy wrapped around her little finger with one little look and smile.

As we did last year, we decided to use a list of words/phrases that describe our kiddos. Some qualities are just the same and some are a little different.  It is fascinating to see how much they have grown yet in some ways stayed the same since they were tiny.

Ty

Tender, Smart, Rule-follower, Entertaining (in small groups…scared in big crowds!), Protective, Avid reader, Starting to try new things!

Lily

Fiercely competitive, Snuggly, “Dancing Queen”, Boundary-pusher, Hilarious, Assertive, Sunshine, Giving

Being a parent is the most amazing, rewarding and exhausting job in the world.  We are so blessed to have awesome children who inspire and challenge us EVERY day. 🙂

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each of you! We pray that 2011 will be an amazing year.

Ty and Lily at the Pumpkin Patch - October 2010

Mark and Jennifer - Christmas 2010

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