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.