Happy New Year

While many of you were busy this holiday season tossing back the egg nog, or trying to time your Santa picture just right so you could avoid standing in line at the Mall, we were busy with our own holiday adventure – the birth of our new son, Kole Joseph Aitala , who joined us on December 15 at 2:54 p.m.

We’ve been home for two weeks and now the “new parent” fog has hit – the late-night feedings and the joys of discovering what’s new and exciting in the diaper.  Oh yeah, and how to maintain sanity while dealing with a toddler in the house who’s making sure to spread all of his germs on every surface and item Kole touches.  It’s a real amusement park ride that gets re-set every night by the local carnies (that’s us ).  We’re grateful there’s help from Mark’s folks in Austin and Sara’s folks who traveled from Nebraska to lend two extra sets of hands to help out as we adjust to being a family of four.PC310701.JPG

Sara is taking maternity leave from EnviroMedia as Executive Producer.   It was an incredibly busy year as she produced work for tobacco prevention, a grand opening of Whole Foods headquarter’s store , the 20 th anniversary of Don’t Mess with Texas and Emergency Preparedness.  Dillon and Sara have mornings together and share PB & J over the noon hour before Dillon goes to “school” and Sara heads to the office.  It’s been a great arrangement for all and we’ll try to continue the magic once Kole is three months.

Sara joined her mother and sister in Albuquerque for the amazing sights of the Balloon Festival and would you believe they were selected as part of the crew to help a Japanese pilot during one of the competitions?


Mark continues toiling for the Apple orchard.  He joined a new group a year ago as Field Service World Wide Data Manager (say this with booming voice and it intimidates even Mark). We’re thrilled he has had a few weeks off to bond with the new baby and play super-Dad to Dillon.

He earned some manly-man points for surviving a men’s trip to Canada with Sara’s Dad, brother Beech and brother-in-law John.  In November, he enjoyed another boy’s trip and took his Dad and Dillon to an Air Show in San Antonio.  Since Mark only logged 560 miles on his bike this year, he took out his frustrations on some bent up garbage barrels by joining a Steel Drum Band .

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Dillon turned two just a few days before making his debut as “Elmo” for Halloween and quickly learned that trick or treating should be America’s favorite pastime.  After visiting a few neighbors’ homes, he suggested he wanted to go out again…to the same houses!  No double-dipping, Dillon!  He’s had a fun year of pool time, learning to count, making animal sounds and channeling the spirit of curious George.  We’ve had to dismantle the bunk beds after he showed us a 2-year-old could be king of the mountain, even without a ladder!


Other family adventures included: Sara and Dillon got to watch Great Grandma Beechner receive a “Sports Award” in Lincoln, Nebraska, a trip to sunny LA to see Rob Stevens tie the knot and dip our toes in the Pacific, a trip to upstate New York to see Mark’s cousin Kim get married and then a long weekend in Boston to visit relatives on both sides.  Dillon got his camping groove on at the Kerrville Folk Festival and then honed his s’mores skills at Garner state park in October at an annual trip/Bicycle ride our family has been taking with friends.

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Given the bargains hurricane season can bring in the Virgin Islands, we took off to St. John to contemplate our navels and the name choices for our newborn.  We tried new beaches every day and introduced Dillon to foo-foo smoothie drinks , skinny-dipping, and island time .  Lucky for us, we missed the storms and cashed in on a glorious, sun-filled vacation.   Unlucky for us, we didn’t get much baby-naming time in and found ourselves still deep in negotiation the night before the baby was born.

This holiday, we are extremely thankful for our family and friends, the Daily Show laughs, iPod-mania, Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, the epidural, each other and the laughter that fills our lives.  

Thank you all for your love and support.  May peace and joy be with all of you in the coming year.

Mark, Sara, Dillon and Baby Kole!