Dear Family and Friends,
Last year was the first in more than a decade that I didn’t do a Christmas letter. We had just moved home after the remodel and everything was a bit chaotic. Total mistake! Facebook is a poor substitute for reflecting on the passing year.
Our kids are happier hiking miles in national parks than traipsing around big cities. So, we took an epic summer road trip to house-sit for friends in Boulder and went the long route through Zion and Bryce. We even got last minute reservations to stay at Phantom Ranch in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I don’t recommend hiking out and driving all the way home the same day, but it’s worth it if you have to.
This is the first year in a long time I haven’t left the country. I need to change that for 2016. I did get to visit Boston and Cleveland for work, play tennis tournaments in the Central Valley (where there is cheap land to build nice clubs), and take a girls’ trip to hike in Sedona. And we had some weekends away with friends. The CA drought has all but eliminated the ski season, but it looks like this year could be different. Also, I just passed the three-year mark at Cisco, and I’m fortunate to have interesting projects and great people on my team.
Tracy is approaching Lockheed icon status, coming up on his 20th anniversary this year. He is fencing more, but cycling less, and usually spends more time building and fixing things around the house than working out. Although, he did earn his A rank in fencing (which is really good apparently – I didn’t know either). He finally bought his own car… which is another minivan. So much for a midlife crisis.
Skyler, 16, is now a licensed driver, certified lifeguard, cross-country runner, and usually does his own laundry before he completely runs out of clothes. He towers several inches over Tracy and goes to bed after everyone else. We don’t see much of him during the day, but he makes up for it by starting existential conversations late at night. I try to stay up and chat. Our time with him at home is short.
Liam is now taller than me, beats me at arm wrestling, but can’t quite take me at tennis yet. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. He’s a freshman at Homestead, which requires that he leave the house at 7:30am. So, he’s a regular at the Monday detention breakfast club for multiple tardies. This past summer, he was a camp counselor with Golden Eagle and gained a whole new respect for parents. Love that!
I thought Hadley’s horse thing was a phase. It’s not. But, it is a rich kid hobby, so she spends all her own money on lessons and gear. Someday she’ll get off the waitlist to volunteer at Webb Ranch (for real – takes about a year), but until then, she works with the miniature horses at Animal Assisted Happiness and rides as often as I'll fund it. She still plays soccer and runs track in middle school, but everything takes a backseat to horses.
We finally have a cousin! Milo Bristol Jalgunas joined Heather and Charles on March 14, the day after Liam’s birthday. He’s a smiley army-crawling rugrat with notable skill chewing anything within reach and pulling himself up on whatever looks stable. It is so fun to have a baby around again.
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
Flynn and Panda (the cats)
Yuki and Super Fluff (the bunnies)
Alpha (the beta fish)