Thursday, December 26, 2013

So, if I were to write a Christmas Newsletter.....

We've never done the ubiquitous Christmas "Newsletters", mostly because we find the ones we receive are too long, or full of gloating accomplishments, or the "we have shitloads of money" type of comments like "we traveled to such-and-so-a-place and then spent 2 months skiing in Switzerland at our 3rd home" or "Joe III received his double doctorate in Spanglish Studies from the University of Spoiled Children."  After a while you just want to scream at these folk who write these novellas and tell them to get a life!

Even ones that are more, well, down-to-earth can be too much to read, or even digest.  Sometimes you want to just go "no one can be THAT accomplished" or "no one has that much discretionary income".  So, I've thought of writing one that would highlight with exaggerated statements our family's year.  However, I found as I started to write it that I couldn't say things about our family in an exaggerated way that sounded, well, nice.  So, here's our 2013 Christmas Newsletter, but as real as we can possibly make it without embellishment.

2013 was both a good and a tough year for us, but still one that I think we can all remember with fondness. Lorrie and I celebrated 15 years since our first date, 14 years of marriage, and 13 years of being in our house.  We didn't make any great trips this year - no cruises.  But Lorrie and I did spend a week in the mountains at a lakeside cabin, and we were neighbors there with her parents and uncle.

Audrey is 12 now, and in 7th grade (I remember 7th grade!).  She is still schooled at home through the K12 program, and is still taking piano lessons from Lorrie's mom.  She has started Confirmation classes at our church, sings in the youth choir and is also one of the acolytes on Sundays (the person who lights and extinguishes the candles before and after the service, and helps with Communion).  She loves all the guinea pigs we have (four piggies now), and we're sure that she's destined to be a veterinarian.

Colin is 13 - just 11-1/2 months older than Audrey.  He too sings in the youth choir at church, and is an acolyte.  He is in 8th grade, and on the same K12 program as Audrey.  He takes piano from Lorrie's mom as well, even though he's reluctant to practice for them!  He has become, like most teen boys, adept on the computer, and Santa brought him a video editing software package so he can start on what we hope could be a career.

Justin, our oldest, is 19, and was working at Westamerica Graphics, but was laid off in February.  He found that trying to get work was tougher than anticipated, and finally did get a job right after Thanksgiving, but up in Reno where Lorrie's brother and family live.  He actually DIDN'T start his job until the week before Christmas, so he's just getting going.  We didn't have him for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but we Skype with him frequently.  Justin did help out here at home, doing the big, hard physical labor jobs around the house and yard that needed to be done.  

Lorrie's photography business has gotten busy this year, more so in the last 2 months.  In fact, she was SO busy that we didn't finish decorating until Christmas Eve!  Usually it's all done a week or so beforehand, but she had photo shoots, photo editing, and orders to place.  We're glad she's busy now, because it slows down in the early months every year.  She focuses on (no pun intended) family portraits, and is getting a reputation for being very good with young families.  She also keeps busy making sure the kids practice and do their schoolwork.

I was moved into a new position in March, doing business development for my employer, which was an exciting and interesting position.  I was also recognized for my 30 years of employment there.  However, 2013 was a rough year for the company: we lost our biggest client in March, and that took a big hit.  We had 3 rounds of layoffs, and I was one of those let go on that 3rd round.  So, I have joined the ranks of the unemployed.  Despite that, I had a wonderful year musically, singing for a young friend in his master's recital, and directing two pick up choirs at our church in the summer, and another Sunday directing our church's choir when our director was out for the day.  My goal in 2014 is to put together a pick-up choir of my own, and rehearse and sing regularly.  So, even being unemployed, I remain confident.

We wish you and yours a wonderful and special 2014!  Merry Christmas!!

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