Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kelsey the Soccer Player

Kelsey really wanted to play soccer this year. After asking me a few times, I started to think she was serious. She wasn't old enough when she was five to play on a team because the cut off date is on her birthday, so she played Skyhawks, which is like preschool soccer. Then she hadn't really mentioned it until this year. So I consider this her first year and she is doing great. She pays attention at the practices and does her best. After practice and her games, she goes out in the backyard and practices until we make her come in. This is the teams first year playing with goalies and the coach started her off learning the goalie position. She gives it her all. Here's a few pictures from their last game.

You can't see the ball but she's got it !

This is the coach's son, Austin. He's Kelsey's buddy. He hangs out with her by the goal and gives her tips and moral support.

Here's her out on the field. Look at her go! The coach can't stop talking about how good she is getting.

And one more picture of Kelsey and Austin.

We are so proud of her and how hard she is working at this. Way to go Kelsey!!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back to School 2010

Here we are on the first day of another great year at McDonald Elementary.
This is Kelsey. She is a third grader who loves school - especially Math. She is very excited to have Mrs. Foster and be in class with one of her best friends.

This is Reagan. She is excited to be a fifth-grader, but already can't wait for middle school next year. She loves learning, so naturally she loves school. She's working on starting a cooking club at school this year, so I'm anxious to see if that works out.

Reagan and Kelsey are both excited that they get to have one of their recesses together. That is a first since they've been in school.
Gwyn doesn't start preschool until next week, but she was going to a friends house so I packed her a lunch. Doesn't she look cute?
Part of me was worried about not having Reagan and Kelsey home to help and play with her, but now I am really looking forward to having her home with me this year. She's my baby so I'm going to enjoy every minute I have with her. Is that wishful thinking?

Here are my 3 girls. I love them so much!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Last day of school

Here's a few pictures I took on the last day of school.
(This is typical of Gwyn to join the class on the floor when it's story time.)

After school they got to have a small party. I let them paint rocks with their friends and have a sleep over. I figured they deserved it after getting such remarkable report cards.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Matt started Father's day snuggling next to a sick Gwyn at 12:30 in the morning. He stayed up with her most of the night.

Then Reagan, Kelsey and I made a special french toast breakfast for him.

I hope this day was as special for Matt as it was for the girls who call him Dad. I couldn't have picked a better person for the job.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Matt Shumate Photography

If you are friends with me on facebook, you probably already know about Matt's photography business. But if you don't, let me tell you a little about it.

About a year and a half ago, Matt took it upon himself to learn everything he could about one of his greatest passions: photography. He read, studied, and watched everything he could get his hands on. He got a few jobs here and there from friends, craigslist, anyone who wanted to get their picture taken. Even me. He produced amazing pictures and the jobs kept coming.

Then last summer, someone wanted Matt to photograph her wedding. He wasn't sure, but she talked him into it. After shooting her wedding, Matt realized what he was meant to do. It was like a light went on and everything made sense. His years of dj-ing weddings which makes working weddings so natural for Matt. Matt's photography teacher in college didn't understand why he didn't want to major in photography and do it professionally. Even she saw his potential way back then. His current career as a graphic designer which has allowed him to do his own advertising and web design. Finally, besides his incredible talent, his art degree which has given him the ability to produce creative composition-friendly pictures that are pleasing to the eye in more ways than one. It was amazing to watch this happen in such a short time.

Now he is heading into the 2010 wedding season with back to back wedding from the middle of May until mid-October and he can't wait. He truly loves it and it shows. Matt will tell everyone that he has the best clients, and it's true. They are the nicest people who are just as happy to have Matt photograph them as he is doing it.

Here are just a few of my favorite photos from recent shoots.

Check out the rest at
You can follow his blog all the way back to the beginning.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Marini Family Pictures

This is the first time in 3 years that my side of the family have been together. Chas just got home from his mission and Tim, Rachel and Wyatt came up from Utah for the week. We came over for the weekend to welcome Chas home. Sunday was the only day we were going to all be together, and the only day to get a family picture. It has been 4 years since our last family picture. Anyways, it was showing rain all weekend, so we weren't expecting to find a really great location. Just looking for something with cover that would cover all of us and Matt's lights. But Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day, so while lunch was being made, Matt and I went looking for a good location. We found a great spot that would have a beautiful blue sky backround. The clouds were nice and fluffy white and the sun was shining so Matt wasn't even going to have to set up lights. We did see, however, a black cloud to the left, but it didn't seem to be going anywhere so we just hoped it would slowly go away in another direction. So Matt and I went back to Mom's house and everyone ate lunch, then got ready to go to the location. When we got out of the car, we noticed the dark cloud moving in. It blocked out some sunlight so Matt was going to have to set up his lights. It was also super windy. This was great for Reagan, who just got a kite from Grandma for her birthday. They had a great time flying the kite! The wind kept pulling it higher and higher. This was not great for Matt. His big reflector was acting as a kite/parachute. I couldn't even hold the stand up without feeling like I was going to fly away. So, Matt put the reflector away and just used a hard light. By now the black cloud was directly over us and it was so windy! We quickly got into position, Matt set the camera, jumped in the shot and "click." that was picture # 1.

It started to sprinkle. Matt ran back, set the camera again, ran back to his spot and "click." The cloud instantly opened up and the rain came down like a bucket of water. You can even see the raindrops in the pictures. The moms and kids ran to the car while the guys helped Matt get his lights and gear into the car. Crazy! But we got 2 great pictures out of the deal. What luck!

Here's the cousin picture we took back at Mom's house later on. It's the typical picture when you have a bunch of kids and a baby. But they are all together and that's all that matters.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Christmas letter 2009

Hello friends and family! We have had a great year in 2009. In February, Grandma Marini took us to Disneyland which was the girlsʼ first time going and we all had a blast! Recently weʼve been busy remodeling the inside of our house to put Mattʼs office and photography studio downstairs and move everything else around upstairs.

Reagan turned 9 this year and is in the 4th grade. School work and tests have increased and sheʼs doing exceptionally well with that. Sheʼs still taking piano and is thrilled to be in Marimba Club which starts in January. Reagan is a joker and is constantly making everyone crack up. With all of our remodeling, Reagan moved out of the girlsʼ room and into her own. She is very excited about that. She says, “I havenʼt had my own room since I was two!”

Kelsey is 7 and in the 2nd grade. Her teacher is constantly telling us what a wonderful student she is. She loves reading, writing, and talking (non-stop) and is friends with everyone, which isn't surprising because she excels at treating everyone so nicely. Kelsey will always take time to read Gwyn a story or do whatever Gwyn wants, which is a lot. Itʼs so sweet and very helpful. Kelsey started up piano again this year and gets excited to learn new songs.

Gwyn just turned three and was able to set the binky and bottle free—yay! It wasnʼt too difficult, but sheʼs not as eager to take naps anymore. She moved out of the toddler bed and into the “big girl” bed. She is mommyʼs little helper, especially in the kitchen. Everyday she runs to daddy with open arms, and squeals, “Daddyʼs home!” when he walks through the door. Baby G has numerous people wrapped around her little finger, which allows her to walk around her sistersʼ school like she runs the place. Like her big sisters, she spends a lot of time trying to make everyone around her laugh.

Matt takes the prize for being the busiest this year. His re-found passion for photography has taken what we thought would be a hobby to a full-on photography career. This is because he and his pictures are truly amazing. While working his day job as a graphic designer, Matt works another 30+ hours a week as a photographer, meets weekly with a group of Spokane business leaders, and is active with the Inland Northwest Photographers Assembly. 2 a.m. bedtimes are a pretty regular occurrence for him. At church he serves as the Financial Clerk. All this and he is still able to be a wonderful husband and father by taking time to be with us individually and together as a family. Weʼre sure he gets stressed out with the lack of sleep and his desire to do more, but he doesnʼt show it at all. Check out his work at Itʼs incredible. Youʼll see.

Gina keeps busy doing the usual mom stuff. Taking care of the kids, housework, yard work, making dinner, doing laundry, etc. Her part-time job working the graveyard shift takes time away from these errands as she attempts to find sleep sometime during the day. Even with that sheʼs still able to help at the school a couple days a week. Gina also teaches the 7 year old class at church, which is perfect since Kelsey loves having mom as her teacher. Most important to her, however, is being the best wife and mom she can be.

We would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. We love keeping in touch with all our friends and family. You can find us on Facebook and Matt is pretty active on Twitter ( Our blog is also updated semi-regularly (in theory) at

Love always,

The Shumates

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gwyn's birthday

Today our baby turned 3. I just wanted to put up a few pictures and tell about her day. She got to open her presents in the morning from all of us and her Grandmas and Grandpa. She was very excited about that.

Here's a couple of puzzles she got. She's been doing puzzles like crazy lately.

After presents she got her birthday oatmeal, which is oatmeal with sprinkles and whipped cream on top. Yum!

Next we headed over to Jump and Bounce where she got to play with a bunch of friends.

She had a blast although after about an hour she was tired and hungry and just wanted to go home. After lunch she took a good nap.

We had some friends come over after Reagan and Kelsey got home from school sing "happy birthday" to her and have some yummy cake. What a beautiful cake it was. (She picked it out the day before.) I think she had a very happy birthday.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A visit from the other Shumates

Devin, Dacia, and all their kids came over for 4th of July weekend. On Friday we went to Silverwood. It was a very hot day so we spent all day at Boulder Beach. At about 5:00 pm, we were all starving so we went to this restaurant inside Silverwood. Here's a picture of all the kids while we were waiting for our seats.

After dinner we went on some rides.

Here's the kids mocking the cactus behind them.

The next day we went up to Manitou Park in the South Hill. The kids ran around and Matt took a bunch of pictures.

Here's a couple of all the Shumate cousins together.

We didn't really do much for the 4th of July except just hang out together and let the cousins play all day. It was a fun weekend!