Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Annual Holiday Letter

Greetings Family and Friends,

As Amira and I clinked our fluted glasses filled with sparkling apple cider at mid-night on January 1, 2012 we vowed to make the New Year a year of being fancy and adventurous. Little did we know we’d be taking Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride to a whole new level!

Beginning New Year’s Day we took a spontaneous road-trip to Santa Rosa, Ca, to the home of Snoopy’s Ice Rink. We spent a glorious day there along with exploring the Charles Schultz museum.  It was a perfect way to start 2012.

At the end of March, beginning of April we arranged a surprise birthday/family reunion trip to San Diego for my dad. We rented a beautiful home just a few short blocks from the water.  The Brown Clan and the Leboda Clan (Arizona family) had a grand week in southern California.  Memories that will last a lifetime!  Two days before leaving I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my ankle in two places. This however did not stop us from enjoying the last days of San Diego. However, it did take me out of work for more than 6 weeks.

During my hiatus, Clint and I discovered we had an older sister named Terri and met her at the end of May.  In some ways it’s still very surreal yet very natural at the same time.  We’ve certainly enjoyed getting to know one another and spending time together.  Turns out she lives in Arizona. What a small world!  We’ve since introduced her to the Leboda Clan, which has been a great experience as well.

After watching the summer Olympics Amira decided she wanted to try gymnastics. So for the last few months she’s been taking classes once a week. After her second month of classes her teacher approached me about Amira taking a spot on their competitive team of which she is now training for.

In addition to doing gymnastics once a week she opted to play on the school’s volleyball team this year and did really well.  So excited to share these wonderful experiences with her.

For Thanksgiving we spent the extended weekend in Arizona with the entire clan and had an absolute blast.

As of the writing of this Annual Christmas letter (12/16/12), our family has learned that my sister-in-law, Claudia, has Stage 3 cervical cancer.  She and Clint have agreed to take the doctor’s recommendation for treatment, which will be 6 weeks of combined chemotherapy and radiation.  Her first radiation treatment will be December 24, 2012, with a more than likely overnight stay to track her progress. Claudia has said that she appreciates all the outpour of love, prayers and positive support she’s been receiving.  She is choosing to keep herself surrounded with positive people, as she knows this will benefit her more than anything.  We’re in the process of putting something together to keep everyone informed via a web-page. Once this has been done we will gladly pass the word along. (Update 12/25/12: Claudia received her first chemo treatment Sunday, 12/23/12 and her first radiation treatment Monday, 12/24/12. She is doing well and is looking forward to spending the holidays with her family.)

         As you look back over the year, I hope you look with fondness and gratitude. As you look forward, I hope you look with amazement and wonder.  I wish you peace, good health, and lots of love.

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