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!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

June happenings

Matt's grandfather, Bob Shumate, died, and we went to Tacoma for the funeral. Here's a few pictures from the cementary.

Here's a picture of his children.

Here's some of his grandsons.

And here's most of the grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Afterwards we went to a river and the girls played for awhile with their aunts and uncles and cousins. It was a nice, hot day.

The next day we went on a ferry with Grandma and Grandpa Shumate. It was the first time that Kelsey and Gwyn had been on one.

We also went to Fort Nisqually at Point Defiance Park and saw what it was like to live in the 1800's.

Also in June, we went to Reagan's piano recital. We were surprised to see so many people there. It's normally just a handful of students and their parents there but this year they combined it with another teacher's students and had it at a different location. This caught Reagan a little off guard but she did great, even though she messed a little more than she would have liked. We were all proud of her.

The girls have been wearing shorts these days, so we get a lot of this happening. This is just one of the many injuries between Reagan, Kelsey, and especially Gwyn. Ouch!

Finally, here's a cute picture of the girls "striking a pose" that Matt took.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

May happenings

May started out with a trip to Tacoma. Matt got to hang out with the fellas he grew up with. It's been a loooooooong time since they've all gotten together. They stayed in a condo by the ocean for a couple of days. If you want more details, you'll have to ask Matt. All I get is "what happens in Westport, stays in Westport." Just kidding. I was so glad that Matt got to take a couple of days off and hang out with the guys. He doesn't do that very often.
Here's a cute picture of Kelsey and Aunt Jaqui that was taken that weekend. I love this picture!

On the way to Tacoma, Matt stopped at Vantage, which is the half way mark and it where we cross the Columbia River. Here's a picture he took.
On the way home, we also stopped in Vantage, but this is on the other side of the freeway. It was soooooooo windy. You could barely keep your eyes open!
We made it back just in time for Kelsey's First Grade music program which was the next day. It was called E-I-E-I-uh-oh. Kelsey was a chick with her good friends Chloe, Ashley, and Sarah. Their costumes were pretty much thrown together, whatever we could find that would resemble a chick. It was a cute program and most importantly, Kelsey had fun.

Later in May, the girls got to be part of a children's music video for Jenks. They got to dance around and move around like different animals. We are friends with Corey Jenkins, who writes songs for kids. We have one of their CD's that the girls like a lot. You can watch the video Here. Reagan is wearing a greenish and brown shirt, Kelsey is wearing a pink shirt, and Gwyn is wearing a green shirt as shown in this picture. Watch for them in the video!

Lastly, and very sadly, we said good-bye to our good friends, the Buers. They are our friends that we spent Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve with last year. I will miss my good friend, Wendy and our kids will miss their kids. Here's Kelsey with her other BFF Hannah.
And here's Gwyn with her bud Landon. She loved playing with him.

April happenings

I already posted about Easter, but here are a few other things that happened in April:
First, we were surprised to find out that Kelsey's BFF Hika was visiting from Tonga. She moved to Tonga over 2 years ago. Here's a picture of them together a couple of months before she left when they were 4 years old.

She wasn't supposed to be back until the end of the year but her mom came back to have a baby and Hika got to come visit us a few times. Here is a picture the first night she came over. They played really good together and kept playing even though it got dark outside. Hika is now back in Tonga with her family until the end of the year.

These pictures were taken one nice Sunday afternoon. We went down to the river and took a
walk. After the long winter we had, it was nice to get out and be outside together.

Also, in April, we got a visit from my mom. The girls love their Grandma so much and had a wonderful visit with her.

Lastly, here's a picture of Gwyn playing with one of her buds, Finn. He's a cute kid she calls her friend. I just like saying "Gwyn and Finn."

March - Reagan's school music program

In March, we went to the 2nd Grade music program. The theme was "green." No, it was not about being "environmentally friendly." They sang a lot of cute songs about things that are green. Reagan loves to perform. She gets nervous, but it's excited nervous. Although she is normally a little shy, she is very brave when it comes to getting up in front of a lot of people and gives each performance 100%.

She got to do a dance with scarves with a few other people. She did awesome!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More of Matt's Photography

I'm not going to post pictures from every photoshoot that Matt has, that's what his websites (portfolio website and blog) but I thought I'd post some from this one simply because many of you might know the model.

His model for this shoot was Lani Call and I think these photos look like they came straight out of a fashion magazine. Take a look at these and head over to matt's blog to see the rest of the photos and read about the shoot. You should bookmark his site too. He's got some cool stuff coming up.

Matt's booking dates for the near future for kids, families, seniors, glamour shots (minus the collar grab, unnaturally big hair, and trip to the mall), weddings, etc.

Like he says, he shoots people.