Happy Holidays, 2011!

Kendra and I wanted to take a moment and tell you all a bit about how we’ve been doing, what we’ve been up to, and all of the rest.

Now we’re not going to pretend like this is going to be a normal or regular thing.  Far from it, this is more like that Christmas Card/Letter that you get once a year from those people that you can barely remember how you know them.  Welcome for the update, but then easily forgotten.  Well, you’re welcome.

So let’s jump in, shall we?

Thanksgiving with the Whole Family!My sister isn’t fat here, she’s pregnant. Jerk. And . . . uh . . . so am I.

If we’re going to use the traditional Christmas Card as a template, here’s our extended Arizona family Christmas photo, taken at Thanksgiving.  In it you’ll see (in order from the back left): me and Kendra; Nate, Sophie, and Amy Marshall; Tom and Chris Rhodes (my folks), and then my grandmother sitting down, Marie Elward with her friend, Burke Tolbert.

But let’s rewind.  So early 2011.  Kendra and I had been living together for a few months and we had done something that a few of you probably thought was WAY out of left field . . . way too soon . . . way too some other word which is absolutely shocking:  We had decided to get married.  And not just that, we had decided to get married on May 1st, just a few months away!  Yeah, we’re crazy like that.

Spencer marries Ash and Kendra
Photo courtesy of Buffy Reich

Well.  Long story short, we have an amazing support network.  My folks allowed my dream to come true and we got married in their back yard by my best friend and brother, Spencer Proffitt. Kendra’s immediate family were all there as well including her Grandma Julie.  Kendra’s daughter, Micaela was her Maid of Honour and my Dad, Tom, was my Best Man.  Kendra was escorted down the aisle by her dad (also Tom . . . weird) to Ben E. King’s Stand By Me, and we danced to Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love.

It was pretty amazing.

You can see all of the several hundred photos here.  It really was great, though we both wish we could remember more of it!  There may have been some mitigating influences on our memories.  Maybe.

In any case, that happened.  What did we do for our Honeymoon, I hear you ask?  Well, the story isn’t there yet, because we didn’t have time right then!  Why? I hear you ask?  Well, I respond, patiently (even though I was getting there on my own), because two days after our wedding, Kendra had to start a brand new job!  She was done working at the Arizona Renaissance Festival as the Assistant to the Entertainment Director (which she loved, but was still only a part time job with FULL time hours), and had gotten employment at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council as their Director of First Impressions.

Kendra Work

What does she do?  Well, for starters, she lets them put up pretty pictures of her like this on their website (really, how nice a picture is this?  Speaking as a totally disinterested observer, I’m QUITE sure that certain parties wish she would cooperate with them half so nicely when they’re trying to take her picture!).  Really though, she greets people as they come off the elevator, makes coffee, organizes the offices’ meetings, and all the rest along those lines.  Basically office management stuff.  But for great pay and great benefits, so we don’t complain!

 

Most of the summer months were a blur.  Kendra was busy getting used to driving in to Central Phoenix every day and we were settling in to the proverbial wedded bliss.  There was a trip to Seattle to visit the Kesterson Clan for Micaela’s Sweet Sixteen birthday which was pretty much the highlight of the summer.  How is SHE doing, you ask?  I’m glad you did!  Well, Micaela is still in Seattle and attending Ballard High School. She’s a junior this year and is once again singing in the school choir and participating in Drama. She spent the summer at Camp Sealth for the 9th year in a row, this time as junior staff instead of a camper.  In January she starts the Running Start Program (a program that Kendra was one of the first students in, waaaaay back in Nineteen-Ninety-*coughcoughcough*) at North Seattle Community College.  She’s also taken an interest in photography and is learning to use the (completely kick-ass) camera we got her for her birthday. Or, so Facebook tells us, since, like most teenagers, she seems to be glued to some sort of electronic device at all times.  Long live zee maus!

 

So anyway, other than our trip to Seattle, the summer really was a great big blur and before you knew it, it was November and time for us to go on that Honeymoon that we had put off!

 

Kauai Sunset

Thanks largely to some familial suggestions, we decided to spend a week on Kaua’i.  The first half was spent with Kendra’s family who was also on vacation there, and the second half was spent on our own.  We had an amazing time, so much so that you have no idea how close you are to having this letter written from a shack on the beach because Kendra made me sell our tickets so we could stay and be beach bums for the rest of our lives!

 

Kestersons Luau

We could honestly gush about this trip forever, but then you’ll all hate us
for getting to visit paradise and then who’ll read next year’s update?
Kauai Rainbow

There are of course pictures galore, but most of them someone (Yeah, that would be me) still hasn’t gotten around to editing yet.  Why?  Because I took a metric ton of them!!  There are well over 500 of them and it’s exhausting going through and editing so many!  At least we can show you some amazing shots we took just off of our balcony.  Pretty gorgeous, huh?  I especially like this one here on the right with the rainbow.  Just amazing.

 

So.  After we came back from the honeymoon, well . . . that actually pretty much brings us up to the present day, because after that it was just a lot of catching up with work stuff and getting ready for the holidays (isn’t it always like that, though?)!

 

I guess at this point in the narrative I have no other choice but to talk about me a bit.  I’ve had a pretty stellar year, I must say.  As I may have mentioned, I DID marry my sweetheart.  That was pretty cool.  I also started out the year working at GoDaddy.com in their Advanced Hosting Support department (AHS) on 3rd shift as a Team Lead.  It was a good position, but had some obvious drawbacks.  In March AHS rolled out a new Supervisor position, and I was one of the first 6 to fill the role, though it meant I was to stay on 3rd shift for at least another 6 months.  Then a few months later an opportunity to transition into management arose and I applied to become one of my department’s two Managers, which I was lucky enough to get.  I now get to form policy and guidelines which govern the department that I’ve been a part of for over 3 years, which is very exciting for me!  Plus it’s a (mostly) 1st shift position, which is a whole new adventure at this point!

 

So there you have the basic broad strokes of the last 12 months or so in the life and times of Kendra and Ash.  We’ve certainly left a few things out, whether by accident or on purpose, but let’s be honest . . . no one wants to hear every little thing, now do they?!  I hope everyone has been at least a little captivated and we look forward to boring you to tears many years into the future!

 

All of our love,

~Ash and Kendra.
December, 2011 (Mesa, AZ)

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