Time is definitely marching forward. This year, my parents celebrated their 50th anniversary, and Skyler left for college and turned 18. With older kids, the house feels quieter and everyone has their own schedule. Instead of the challenge to find time to be alone, it’s a challenge to find time to be together.
Hadley is now a freshman at Homestead High School. She still spends every free moment with horses at Webb Ranch jumping, riding, working, and hanging out with other barn girls who would rather clean tack than go to prom. She’s a good student, plays school and club field hockey, and is perpetually optimistic about the results of the recipes she finds on Instagram. Last summer she took her first solo flight to visit a friend in Zurich. You don’t turn down a vacation in Switzerland!
Liam, 16, is a junior and at 6’2” is the tallest person in the house. He wrestles and dives for Homestead, and can out-downhill Tracy on a mountain bike (Climbing? As if!). Liam had a tough year with some back trouble and hard life lessons. But he seems to be emerging stronger for it. This summer, he spent two weeks at NYU in an electronic music program. New York life agreed with him and he’s hoping to find a big city college. Check out his songs and tutorials on his YouTube channel, Liam C.
Skyler is a freshman at UCCS (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs). During orientation, he changed his major from physics to philosophy and psychology. So now, we’re saving for grad school. He loves his coursework, professors, dorm, the view of Pike’s Peak, and college life, especially making his own decisions. Apparently, he wasn’t ignoring everything in high school, because he’s doing better in college than even he expected. He joined the badminton club (because it was free), and the Friday night ice cream club (wouldn’t you?), and some senior is teaching him to brew mead from local honey. It’s the little things that make me miss him, like milk going bad, the hollow quiet in the house, and having too many leftovers.
After five years at Cisco, a new opportunity opened up. So, in September, I gave up my flexibility, bike commute, and familiar team, and joined the services marketing team at Workday. It wasn’t easy to leave, but it’s good to be new at something again, and I’m glad for the challenge. In April, I had my meniscus and rotator cuff repaired (during the same surgery) and spent most of the spring recovering. It’s no surprise I’m a cranky patient, but time and PT work wonders, and I’m finally back to running and playing tennis. I also started yoga when Trump got elected because I thought I should try something I didn’t like, to see if it had value.
Tracy earned his Lockheed Fellow designation this December. It’s an honor given to just a few engineers and something he’s worked for years to achieve. This translates to more travel and responsibility, so it’s harder to juggle the fun stuff. At home, he spends more time than he’d like fixing things, but is still a regular on the weekend road and mountain bike rides, and local fencing and tennis clubs.
|Celebrating 50 years of the Bristol family.|
We didn’t do a big family vacation this year. All the kids had jobs over the summer and scheduling was complicated. But little groups of us did a lot of little trips – Yosemite, Mammoth, camping here and there. I went to Montana with Skyler and we took an epic snowmobile tour of Yellowstone. The insane snowfall on the west coast made for spectacular powder in Tahoe. My hiking group took an overnight cross-country ski trip to Glacier Point. Tracy and I went to Indian Wells to watch tennis, and spent the 4th of July in NYC, popping in to see Liam at NYU. This fall, on a whim, some friends and I road-tripped to Smith’s Ferry, ID to be in the path of totality for the eclipse. Totally worth it. If you can find a spot in 2024, go for it.
So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We are so happy you are part of our village, both near and far. One more time around the sun… here we go!
Tracy, Julie, Skyler, Liam, and Hadley
Panda, Loki, and Squeak (the cats)
Yuki and Super Fluff (the bunnies)