Today is Christmas Adam (the day before Christmas Eve). I have never written a Christmas letter this late, but it didn’t make it to the top of the list until now. Some of you over-achievers got your letters out by Thanksgiving. Congratulations. I’m sure all your shopping was done in August, right?
2012 was the start of parenting 3.0 in our house. With all kids in double digits, a waning interest in legos and increasing requests for electronics and privacy, we’ve definitely stepped into the PG13 phase of life. Half the time I don’t know whether to ground the kids for their awful jokes or choke with laughter.
For me, this year was magic. I would happily rewind to January and start over. Multiple ski trips to Tahoe and Bear Valley, even one with three moms and ten kids! Three weeks in France, 10 days in Hawaii, camping with friends, Portland/Seattle and a fall trip to mountain bike in Moab with an accidental day hiking in Zion (because I mixed up the time of my flight home). These trips were all such brilliant gifts, and I expect it will be a long time before I get a chance to travel so lavishly again.
However, to fund more potential trips, I gave up the freelancing/tennis/ French-classes/semi-working mom life in October and took a full time job at Cisco doing marketing communications for partner services. The transition wasn’t seamless and I’ve never been good at balancing and organization, but I’ve landed on a great team and I have the flexibility to work from home when I need to. It was time to go back, and I’m grateful for the chance to earn a regular paycheck without the feast or famine rhythm of freelancing.
Skyler marked his last year in middle school by moving into his own room. He’s claimed our guest room, and as the neatest Colwell kid, if we have to kick him out to host friends, at least it doesn’t take long to get the room ready. He continues to fence at Stanford and compete in local tournaments. He’s also taking German, tennis, and fixes my computer. At thirteen, he’s threatening to become a responsible adult, although his logic and sarcasm still need some refinement. Soon, I’m sure.
Liam loves middle school because it’s much harder for me to locate and talk to his teachers. I haven’t gotten any phone calls yet, and he spends enough time doing homework so he appears to be managing just fine. This year, Liam took up tennis, joined the wrestling team, and played in the band -- dabbled with the tuba, but has resettled on the more manageable baritone horn. His goals are to wear the least amount of clothing that is socially acceptable, grow his hair back out, and acquire an alpaca.
Hadley is still packing more into her schedule than anyone else: tap, jazz, ballet, soccer, French, clarinet, and math Olympiad. I think she’d give it all up to live on a ranch and ride horses. She loves her teacher, her friends, her rabbit, everyone except her brothers whose goal it is to taunt her mercilessly. She uses this to her advantage and has developed the skill and subtlety to get them in trouble. Her highlights this year all involve horses: a week at Ranch Camp in Trinity Alps and a week at Webb Ranch in Portola Valley.
Tracy has gradually shifted his primary athletic pursuit from cycling to fencing, and climbed back through the competitive ranks past the class he held in college. He still manages to ride some locals off his wheel, but the new contenders are getting faster. At work, the government’s lack of ability to agree on anything has kept Lockheed treading water, so he had to make up for it by joining me in Grenoble for a week. If things are miserable this year, we’ll have to plan another international trip, but he’s cautiously optimistic.
Thank you for being part of our village. We love our community and we are so grateful that we are in this together. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Tracy, Julie, Skyler, Liam, and Hadley
Flynn (the only cat since Malarkey moved into the Greater Neighborhood)
Xavier and Yuki (the bunnies)
The geckos in Liam’s terrarium