Merry Christmas!

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It's been a busy year for the Hawkins family!  We started off the year with Ben teaching his second semester at San Jose State University.  He taught Biotransport Phenomena and worked with students in his lab doing Microfluidics research.

Sarah and Mackenzie kept busy during the day by going to play dates, library story times, and new moms group at the hospital.  On Wednesday mornings, they hung out at the YMCA.  Mackenzie went to their child care program while Sarah taught a kids gymnastics class and occasionally a water aerobics class.

In March, Sarah took Mackenzie on her first airplane ride to visit Nana and Papa in New Jersey.  Nana really liked showing Mackenzie off to her friends.

In April, Sarah was approached about applying for a job at the Timpany Center.  While she hadn't planned to return to work until Mackenzie was older, the job description seemed perfect for her.  She was the successful candidate through the interview process and even managed to convince them to change the position from full time to part time so she could still have time with Mackenzie during the week. She is now working as the Program & Operations Director and Mackenzie is a student in the Daffodil Room at San Jose State University's Child Development Center.  

In May, we celebrated Aubie's (Andrea's) graduation from Fresno Pacific University.  We are still so grateful that Ben's job allowed us to move back to California and participate in family events more often.  We were also proud to send Colton off to college at ASU in August.

Summer was full of adventure for the Hawkins clan!  We took trips to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Shaver Lake, and even took Mackenze camping with Grandma and Grandpa at Huntington Lake.  The biggest adventure for us, however, was embarking into the crazy world of home-ownership.  In August, we got the keys for our first home - a 900 square foot townhouse in the Willow Glen area of San Jose.  The house needed a lot of work but we had to move in right away so we have spent every free moment since painting, wiring, and drilling while we try to make it "ours."

Toby, Maximus, and Bella are adjusting to their new house.  Max and Bella really like basking in the light that pours in from our skylights.  Toby really likes having a yard for the first time, although he still hasn't quite figured out his electronic dog door.  Mackenzie loves petting her "shats" (cats) and chasing her "dada" (doggy).

Fall marked Ben's third semester teaching.  He reprised his Intro to Biomedical Engineering Class which tripled in size from last year! He also led the Senior Project class while he continued his advising and research.

In November, we took a cold but fun trip to Yosemite with Grandma and Grandpa. We spent the weekend riding the trails  - we were quite the sight with Larry's trike and our chariot trailer rolling through the Valley!

There were no plans for "family Thanksgiving" this year, so we went to San Simeon and enjoyed some quiet time on the coast. Mackenzie and Toby both really enjoyed the elephant seals, and the whole family enjoyed hiking around Morro Bay and Big Sur.

Christmas was a lovely time with our extended families.  Mackenzie isn't quite old enough to understand the concept, but she still enjoyed her new toys and having lots of people to play with.  We are now hoping to get some rest before the New Year and new semester for Ben!

We wish you lots of peace, love, and adventure in 2014!

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