Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Griffith 2008 Christmas Letter

Hard to believe another year has passed since the last one. For some reason I feel slightly melancholy for not sending cards this year, even though I've been sending the electronic version for several years now. Regardless as we wait on Christmas Eve for the turkey to cook and I've had my afternoon nap, I pause to compose the years review. For me the four word summary is : family, outdoors, church and work. More details below, here is the video version of our holiday photo.


Eating SnowSay hello to RosieJump!Morning DiscussionsA moment
In early January Mark started off the new year with a replacement camera for the one stolen last Christmas eve, just in time to travel to Beijing for work. January is a cold cold time to visit Beijing, the food however was fantastic and the highlight was a a trip to the Forbidden City. Back home we also got a new pet a snake! (Though in December while climbing around outside her cage she disappeared in a hole in the built in shelf's and we haven't seen her for two weeks!)

FadingPonce De LeonDeception Pass SunriseFamily @ RosarioThe Water Way
If February the mountains continued to get dumped on with snow and we got a snow storm or two in our lowland hills. Mark went on a fun hike with the kids up over Cougar Mountain, he didn't tell them how far it was shhhh. The family took a long weekend and visited Anacortes and Whidbey Island, our favorite part was visiting the fabulously beautiful Deception Pass where the kids piled rocks on Mark while he took a nap in the sun.

Dawn PatroljoyChurning SnowI stopped to pause in aweFirst Date
In March the mountains kept getting dumped with snow (we had record snow falls). Mark kept hiking with the kids, they had a very Calvin and Hobbes moment at Rattlesnake Ridge. On the first day of Spring Mark went on a still very winter expedition to Mt. Daniel in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, it was 10 degrees at night and it snowed the entire time. At the end of the month 3 days early, Kiah went on her first date with Christian Rennie to girls choice. Over 40 kids got together for pictures and went to the dance together.

Red Rock Family ~ 1Angels LandingNavajo SwitchbacksWarm Sunshine FamilyBryce, 9000 feet and Snow
In April Kiah turned sweet 16. Scary! They grow up way too fast. For Spring Break the family headed for Southern Utah. We love the lush all year green of the Pacific Northwest but longed for the dry red rock of the southwest. We visited Zions where Mark took an early morning hike up to Angels Landing and the family went on several great hikes together. We then headed to Bryce where it snowed on us, we then spent a magical afternoon at Goblin Valley. We then drove up to Cache Valley to see Stac's Mom who wasn't feeling well and Mark very cold hike up the Wellsville Mountains. Before we returned home we saw Linda and Doug in Salt Lake, as well as Shari.

Swan Swan HummingbirdBarefoot on BanderaLeaping over HoodLeki PoseThe Last Day of May
In May spring started around the lowlands in Seattle and Mark went diving in the sound where he saw a huge Moray Eel. Mark kept on hiking, sunrise with the Markiewicz's and barefoot on Bandera Mountain. The family had fun celebrating Memorial Day. At the end of May Mark headed out (again) with a bunch of friends try to get to the top of Mt. Adams, they had a great time but didn't make it to the top due to almost getting struck by lightening!

UmpfhhhhTop of the Mountaining ling ing lingGolden GlowLine of Blue
June was a busy month! Things started out with Miles and Mark attending a late rendition of our annual Father and Son's trip out to Ocean Shores. Things were a bit windy, but we still got to some great jumps in. Mark and Stac marked the their 19th anniversary with a nice dinner (more celebrating later). Mark got up stupid early to hike to the top of Snoqualmie Mountain. Stac turned 40(!!!) and Mark threw her a big party with smoked ribs and pork shoulder. Mark had a recruiting event in San Francisco so the family got a wild hair to see old haunts and friends and decided to drive down. Over the weekend we saw Rona and Holli (and little L), the Barentsen's and Mark went to lunch with some old workmates in the city. Mark of course managed to sneak in a run over the dry hills of the East Bay. On the drive home we stopped to visit Stac's good friend Alison. At the end of June (told you it was busy) Mark got a chance to meet up with one of his Flickr heroes : TellyTom and they went on a hike with Miles up Denny Creek, the best part was the sliding down in the snow (video!!!).

Sparklers19 YearsOn the GapBeefcake in the MountainsCresting
In July, Jessie Smith, a good friend from church got married. The family had a grand time celebrating the 4th of July with fireworks and the big swing! And then the vomiting and diarrhea began in earnest for Mark. After two weeks it turns out he had giardia (don't drink the water unfiltered from streams!). Mark finally got some medicine the night before Stac and he headed out to the San Juans to celebrate their 19th anniversary. They had a wonderful relaxing time without the kids (Thanks Megan), and Mark started feeling better in 24 hours as the medicine kicked in. Summer began in earnest with jumping and swimming. At the end of July Mark took a 4 day trek with his brother and good friends through the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Most of this was off trail. They had quite an adventure (and no we didn't almost die!). You can see the best photos from the trip or read the 3 blogs, though the greatest moment had to be bathing in a tarn.

Tucquala LakeHi From Bear LakeSummer SunPaddling GirlHello from Kachess
August the snow continued to hang on in the mountains with force. Mark hiked in the middle of the night to watch the Perseid Meteor shower with the Hancocks. We finally got the boat out on the lake. After Kiah's girl's camp the family set out for their summer vacation trip to Utah, where they had a busy time : Went to dinner with Faye and Sharon. Took a trip to Bear Lake. Mark and the kids went on a one night backpacking trip to White Pines Lake with Uncle Doug and Aunt Julie and Lauren and Garret. We went on many hikes. Mark and the kids went canoeing on the Little Bear River. Mark hiked the entire length of the Wellsville Mountains (16 miles and a skunk) from north to south. And finally the family went to Mitchel Zollinger's wedding. On the drive home we reached the brink of insanity and Stac got her sweet revenge. Sofi turned 9 years old! To close out the summer the family went boat camping at Lake Kachess. Mark brought the tent cabin, but left the poles at home! Luckily he was able to rig the tent before it got too dark to see with rope from the boat. Sofi declared the roast corn and the tinfoil dinner the best she'd ever had.

Dayglo Green and FogHall of Prayer for Good HarvestsXiHaiThe GirlsAs Good as it Gets
September started out with a labor day hike up over Denny Creek to Alpental. And of course the return of the first day of school. Mark had to travel to Beijing again for a project launch. So Stac and Mark took the opportunity to travel to Beijing together for 12 days with no kids! (Our good friend Amy watched them back home). Mark and Stac lived in Taiwan twice during their first couple of years of marriage and it was fun returning to Asia together. While Mark worked the first half, Stac traveled all over the city with Beth (wife of a workmate). After the project launched Mark took a few days and Stac and he went sightseeing to the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. The food was fantastic though they must have gained 10 lbs. Mark too over 200+ photos but you can see the shorter version in 25 best. Kiah made the Drill Team at school and we started going to football games with regularity. Mark kept hiking (imagine that) and saw a bear eating berries at Granite Mountain. Kiah went to homecoming dance (ahh memories). The family went once again up to Snoqualmie Pass to pick huckleberries. As September faded the Pacific Northwest enjoyed beautiful weather and Mark went for a gorgeous hike up to Maple Pass with his Flickr buddy Greg.

I am BatmanThe Mountain and UsThe Spark that FliesHappy HalloweenPeice of Flare
As October came the first snow in the mountains seemed to foretell an early winter, but that was the last snow we'd see until the end of December. Mark took a day off work and he and Stac and Miles spent a day in Paradise on Mt. Rainier. The family had a great time on our annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch with the Bratsmans and Sundelins (sans Tore who had to work). Miles and Dad hiked up to see the sunset and the Harvest Moon rise. We continued to enjoy a beautiful fall, we enjoyed more football and Miles and Dad went camping with the Scouts up at Commonwealth Basin. The family had their annual pumpkin carving and photo night. Mark enjoyed the most beautiful sunrise on Snoqualmie Mountain with JK (video). Halloween was great fun and the kids got great hauls of candy.

The City by the SoundMailbox PeakThrough the GrassThanksgiving 2008Big Sky Country
November the girls went down to Vancouver Wa to host a baby shower for Alison and Miles and Dad did whatever Miles wanted for the day. Miles wanted to go ride a ferry so we rode out to Bremerton. Miles turned 5 on the 6th! Kiah had her first drill performance at Lake Washington High School where they took 3rd. Mark went on a 20 mile hike with the scouts up and over all of the 3 mountains in Issaquah : Cougar, Squak and Tiger. Mark turned 41 (oh joy!) and celebrated by hiking to the top of Mailbox Peak (again). (Don't miss Mark and Kyle singing Happy Birthday to Mark). For Thanksgiving the family traveled to Idaho to Doug and Julies house, we had a great time visiting with them and Danny, Aunt Marcia and Uncle Wayne, Sara and her family and Josh.

Santa and IUp and Up and UpRoy and EmilieMerry ChristmasLast Line of Light
In December Kiah had three Drill performances, first at Issaquah High Schools State Championship in Tacoma, at the Shorewood High School and Liberty High School. The best part was when Mark got the times mixed up and they arrived 2 hours early to one. The Santa photos at the Church Christmas Party were fun, you always get at least one screamer. Finally in the middle of December the snow started in the mountains and Mark went snowshoeing with the Markiewicz's back up at Commonwealth Basin. The snow didn't stop falling and we had a record 14 inches of snow in the lowlands that stuck around for 9 days! (That's about 13 inches and 8 days longer than normal). School was canceled early for the holidays and Seattle and the area pretty much shut down for a week. We got a new kitty to replace Oreo who went missing. (Probably Cougar or Coyote :( ) Mark went snowshoeing again in waist deep powder. Stac's parents made the trip up from Utah. Christmas Eve morning Mark and the kids made potato donuts, that evening we had nice dinner with Stac's folks and Mariana and Dashiel. We had a white Christmas as the snow fell all day long. Mark spent 4 hours putting together Miles 693 piece Bionicle and everyone enjoyed naps and a peaceful day. Finally the rain returned and washed away the snow in the lowlands. News Years Eve we spent the morning making dumplings with the Currits and that evening we spent at the Browns with the Ellis's.


Back in the SaddleNew GlassesSerious Hiker in First LightRiding Along(Un)Dawn Patrol
(Here it goes in third person) Mark had a great year. He completed another 1000 miles under his own steam. Along the way he saw so many beautiful places and he took a couple of photos (he posted 3250 on Flickr, though he selected a few favorites). Mark continues to enjoy reading and seeing movies, though he seems to have less time for those activities with all the hiking and his serving in the church. The highlight was the High Alpine Traverse he did with friends. Mark got a new camera right before going to Beijing, the Nikon D90 and he's loved its video feature. He's enjoyed shooting and learning how to edit together movies. Work continues to go well at Amazon, where he still works on the Fulfillment By Amazon program. He got to travel to Beijing twice with work and loved being able to reconnect with China. (He graduated in modern Chinese history). Mark ended the year with not only 1000 miles completed but an amazing record 11 work days of eating Pho in a row. He looks forward to next years adventures with friends and most of all family. Mark is looking forward celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary with Stac in Mexico this June (don't you love frequent flier miles) and is threatening spring break somewhere outdoors (though the family wants Disneyland).


My One True LovePunch you in the Eye (2)Snow ElfUp to the WallThe Way is Steep
This is Stacey(I'm going to speak in the first person, none of this 3rd person stuff). I discovered blogging this year! Mark has been trying to get me to blog for a few years now. His wish came true. I've already written 41 entries in 2008. I've connected with many friends on Facebook that I haven't spoken to in over 20 years. I love Facebook for that reason. There have been many highlights for me this year. Mark has already written about a few of them so I will just list mine(maybe repeats) and why.
  1. Going to Southern Utah. I loved the weather and all the beauty that is in the dessert. Going on hikes with the kids was a lot of fun. They are so adventurous.

  2. I turned 40 and Mark put on a great party at the church. A lot of friends came, we had good food, two yummy cakes and dancing to 80's music.

  3. Going to Orcas Island for our 19th anniversary. Mark had giardia which wasn't great for him. It was a nice relaxing mini trip though and the Ferry ride was amazing. We had perfect weather, a cute little cabin to stay in and no plans whatsoever. We read and lounged. It was great.

  4. Going to Utah in the Summer to see family. We stayed overnight at Bear Lake, played in the water, had raspberry shakes and tots with fry sauce. Going to Mitchell's wedding was another highlight from the Utah trip. Watching Mitchell and Becca dance to the theme of "Twin Peaks" for their first dance together, was great. They are a very cute couple.

  5. Going to China with Mark might have to be the top highlight for me. Being back in Asia with him was so much fun. The two weeks away from the kids was hard at times but I knew they were fine. Seeing the Forbidden City and the Great Wall are two things I will never forget. I will never forget the way I felt while there. Unbelievable is all I can say."

  6. Watching the kids learn and grow is a highlight that's right up there with going to China. They amaze me and make me laugh. When I have time with each one individually, like if we go out to a movie or shopping, is such a treasured moment for me. I don't want to brag but I'm going to. I have a wonderful husband who supports me, 3 kids whom I love and who love me, we have a roof over our heads and Mark has a job. I can't complain about anything. Life is good. I'm excited for this new year and I pray that you and yours have a wonderful 2009, that you are safe and well. Happy New Year!


Eating SnowHmmm what's this?Happy Birthday To YouI'm Camping and I am 16Zonked
Ahh Sweet Sixteen and in her Junior year at Issaquah High school. This year Kiah tried out and made the high school drill team. This has kept her very busy, going to practice and memorizing her routines. She's often seen in the house paused in front of the fridge going through a drill move. She's enjoyed the aspects of competition and looks forward to going to State competition in 2009. This was a year of firsts for her : first job, first date and since her parents got tired of shuffling her between drill practice, work, school and early morning seminary she got her first car (spoiled!). Kiah does well in school and is such a beautiful mature young woman. She manages her time and life so well, we never have to bug her about doing her homework or getting up at 4:30 am to go to early morning seminary (though Dad does have to wake her up) and she's such a well balanced teen, especially given the way Stac and I rebelled. She's looking forward to turning 17 and summer time already.


Sofi and the Red WallSnake HeadFrom the DeepHuckleberry KillerFern Head
Sofi is 9 and boy has she got a strong little personality. Mark has a tradition of stealing the kids Halloween candy and taking it to work. He let Sofi pick her 20 favorite pieces and then put the rest in a bag in his pack. The next day when he got to work and went to take out the candy he pulled out a green towel. Sofi had done a switchero in the middle of the night. :) For her birthday party she had a Camp Rock themed party, where she had a pinata and a sleepover with 5 girls. She loves the Jonas brothers and has their poster on her wall. She is our artist in residence, she loves to create and has an amazing imagination. She'll draw for hours and can make an art project out of anything. Sofi is also quite the little cook, she is always ready and willing to help Dad in the kitchen and can make a mean risotto.


Finger Lickin GoodMiles Preschool PhotoLittle Red ManMy SonHappy to be 5
Miles has finally outgrown his love of Thomas the Train, though he can't yet bear to part with them. Now its full on Transformers, Ben 10 Alien Force, and Star Wars, Legos and Bionicles, Spiderman and Batman. His favorite though is Batman and he enjoys dressing up as Batman, though he also has also been known to make Iron Man costumes as well. Miles has a late birthday in November when he turned 5 though many kids cried at the games Mom and Dad picked, (pop the balloons : too loud! and musical chairs : everyone hates getting out). Miles started pre-school at St. Lukes Lutheran church. The teachers were determined that he would participate in art, though Miles just liked playing with the Legos and trucks. Funnily enough Miles came home now thoroughly convinced due to this education that food that falls on the floor is dirty and has germs. Miles still enjoys going on hikes and camping trips with his Dad. Dad still carries Miles on some parts of their hikes, though they've made an agreement that now that he's 5 he has to travel on his own two feet. We'll see how long that lasts.

We had a great 2008 and look forward to 2009! You can find us on the Internets... Mark on Facebook and Mark on Flickr. Stac on Facebook and her blog

Happy Holidays!


Blogger Stanford said...

That's a great summary of your year - nice layout and photos. You should consider joining Flickr in your next career move...

12:28 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

You did too almost die, Mark!

8:07 AM  
Blogger Jillian said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Jillian said...

Thank you SO much for sharing your year - and especially for sharing the drill team photos with the team. I know I pass them along to about a dozen people - and I'm sure everyone else does too! The girls work very, very hard - and it's great to have the movies! --Best wishes for a happy 2009 - Jilian Hostenske (Emily David's mom)

8:38 AM  
Blogger feverfab6 said...

Mark, your photos really are awesome. Thanks for sharing tham and the year. Hi Stacey. Wow- your a mom of a 16 year old. Abby just turned 13 and I'm not sure I'm ready for teenage years. Any advice?
Your family is beautiful. Happy New Year! Karen

9:41 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Mark, without your beard you look just like you did in h.s.! Stacey, what fun things do you do while Mark is hiking with the kids? I to get Hal on the 1000 mile plan! Love the yearly updates! Thanks.

4:24 PM  

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