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Merry Christmas

Here is a slideshow for a photo session we did of ourselves.

Merry Christmas from the Tonkin Family!
Wow! Trying to sum up a year can be a crazy task… but here it goes.
We have lived in Texas for one year. We absolutely love it here. Everything about Humble, Texas is home for us and it has felt like home from the beginning. We have been so thankful that the transition of moving and making this our home has been so easy. We have been blessed with a large group of awesome friends. Our kids have more playmates and friends than they could ever want. Living down the street from Christine’s sister and her husband has been wonderful.

This summer, Zachary and Alexis both learned how to swim. Zachary was able to swim the length of an entire lap pool. Alexis swam half the distance, then took a break and finished the other half lap. They love going down the water slides, jumping off the diving board; even the high dive. We were so proud of their accomplishments in swimming.
Zachary and Alexis love to sing, dance, and perform for us or anyone else. Alexis’s favorite choices of music are the songs from the movie “Annie” the newer version with Kathy Bates. She will sing for hours and mimic scenes from the movie. We will be in a grocery store and she will be singing very loudly… “The sun will come out Tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar…” She makes us smile so much.
Zachary has become our little artist. He loves to draw. He will wake up and immediately go upstairs to start drawing. His favorite things to draw consist of all superheroes. I started a binder with sheet protectors for him to keep his best work. For a 5 year old, I must say, we think he is a very good artist. We are amazed at how he can draw without looking at any pictures.
He is such a fun loving, sensitive, and focused personality. Mostly like Jeff, but with a splash of Christine.
Alexis is my sweet, confident, and determined bundle of joy. She is either 100% happy or 100% sad. She is a strong motivated child who also likes to motivate others. So far she is not bossy. We are already working on that, just in case. She is probably more like Christine but sometimes she is shy and reminds us she is also like her Daddy.
Christine started homeschooling Zach this year and they both love it. Christine is also working two days a week at our church’s large preschool. She was hired as the music teacher. Christine teaches eight 25-minute classes twice a week while Zachary and Alexis both attend classes.
Jeff still works at Verizon Wireless. The struggles of Jeff’s working hours have been a huge adjustment for us. He worked over 300 hours of overtime in 2008 compared to only 1 hour in 2007. We are, however, extremely thankful that he has a good job and that God has continued to provide for us in so many ways.
At the beginning of the year, Zachary had a rough road with his health. He was sick for about 3 months and lost 12 pounds. He got pneumonia and then kept having allergy attacks. In May, we had him tested again and found that he is also severely allergic to soy as well as peanuts. Since May, he has been so much healthier.
Zachary and Alexis both are taking dance lessons. Zachary is in a hip-hop class and Alexis is in a preschool ballet and tap class. Zach enjoys it, but Alexis absolutely loves it.
Back in April, we started working our photography business here in Texas. Since Jeff works so much, we have had to work a bit slower than planned. Amazingly enough, we have been as busy as we want to be. Whenever we would think we had a spot to fill, a call or an e-mail would come in for a booking. We have actually had to turn down or postpone some jobs. We love learning with our photography and love capturing memories for families.
Christine’s sister, Carla, is pregnant with her first baby… a boy! He is to be born at the end of March. Zachary and Alexis are very excited to have a cousin.
In September, our family took a trip to California for the month. The timing was awesome due to the fact that Hurricane Ike passed over Houston while we were gone. We were so thankful that we did not have any significant damage. We had a tree fall down in the back yard. Only a mile away we saw a few homes where the big trees fell on. Jeff returned home from the trip to endure 7 days at home without electricity. Since Christine was gone for an entire month, she missed the entire 17 days without electricity. She was very glad about how that worked out.
This summer Jeff made a lot of headway on our long list of upgrades on our home. He painted a few rooms, made garage shelving, and installed flooring where there used to be an overlook from the second floor. This added 30 sq ft to our upstairs movie and homeschool room. Jeff also planted 9 trees and started some landscaping.
Well that about sums it up for our blessed and busy year.
We love you all and are so thankful for all the friends and family in our lives.
Jeff, Christine, Alexis and Zachary, 2008
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