Happy Festivus… from all of us

For the first time ever, my annual holiday letter makes it digital debut. Now the entire world can share along with the three dedicated readers to my blog. You all can find excitement in learning about the year that was for our family. Below is a handy *month-by-month account.

January

The new year rang in with snow, snow, and more snow in the Pacific NW. So much so that the entire city shut down for nearly two weeks. Even when it melted, we didn’t get enough of a snow fix, so we spent an extended weekend on Mt. Hood playing in the snow.

February

Hiking is something we like to do as a family during all times of the year. The late winter months are almost best because there is no one else on the trails.

This month was also a birthday for JC. He has quite the talent for music, acting, dancing, and generally spazzing out. He’s the top student in his class and the other kids think he’s quite funny. He’s always making us laugh.

March

March proved to be quite a month for us. At the beginning, I spearheaded the annual gala for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance – the Alice Awards. Drained from that event, I took off on a two-week getaway to help Grace move back to Portland. I flew down to Texas, where she had just finished a three month nursing assignment at Children’s Hospital of Austin, where we were spoiled by her extended family in Plano, Texas. We then meandered back to the Pacific NW, stopping in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Idaho along the way.

Seeing family in Idaho, the trip included Grace going through my baby albums… (thanks Mom…)

April

April turned out to be busy for us as well. The theme of the month seemed to be community, as we helped at Lovena Farm in their barn raising. In honor of the event, the gray days melted away, and we gathered at “our” urban farm with friends to celebrate the changing season. I have to say, Lovena Farm has come ALONG way in its three years of existence, and I am excited at the opportunity to increasingly participate in life as it was meant to be experienced by being part of this community. Look forward to knowing more about this unique opportunity, which I hope to expand upon in later communications.

April was also a time of other “community events,” as the world seemed to wake up to fighting the good fight.

We also participated in traditional activities, such as coloring and hiding Easter eggs, regardless of what the raccoons had to say about it.

May

Our only camping experience of the summer happened in June. We took advantage of another extended weekend to experience one of our favorite places, Oxbow Park. Amazing what peace a regional park, only half-an-hour from us, can bring.

May was also the month for us to start our garden… a small affair on our back deck.

June

June was Pedalpalooza! And I would be remiss to point out how famous we’ve become ; )

Also in June, Syd turned 9 (nine!) Boy, time flies when you’re having “fun.”

I should also mention that Jas got “married” to Lucy this past June. I think, however, that it was a marriage of necessity, as Lucy had a baby less than 30 minutes after the ceremony. OMG, the need for the “talk” is more prevalent than ever! They grow up so quick!

July

July will justly be immortalized as time spent with family over the Fourth of July in Montana on Flathead Lake.

We had so much fun!

August

Most of my summer was spent preparing for the 2nd Safe Routes to School National Conference, but we were all able to escape to the coast for a couple of quick get-a-ways to spend time together as a family.

Also in August, AJ turned six (also, I turned “30-something”). He’s in the 1st grade, now, and loves the play and imagination that school allows him. I also love the imagination that 30+ allows, but “play” isn’t something I easily participate in anymore ; )

September

In September, I had the opportunity to participate in the 2009 Ride for Multiple Sclerosis. With the support of many, I raised over $1000 and rode over 150 miles to help kick a$$ for the fight against MS. Again and again I give thanks to all those that helped raise awareness for this crazy disease.

With help from my friends Clint and Cassandra, we raised over $3000 for team “Bikin’ and Smylin’ for MS”. And we look forward to further our goals in 2010 (with more teammates… hint, hint ; )

October

The fall turned out to be a true season of change for us. First, The BTA decided that a year with me was all that they could handle, so they let me go. Being unemployed has proved challenging, but with the help of friends, I have christened unemployment as “funenjoyment” (it works only when the checks don’t bounce.)

Figuring most prominently in October, the kids, Grace, and I moved to a new home in southeast Portland.  We now have room to breath, and most importantly (as the winter months would soon prove), we have a WARM place to live (though I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for our last house off of Hawthorne, the flooded basement, the lack of heat, and the snow in our living room made for a discomforting winter 2009).

Moving homes is always, um… chaotic.

November

This month proved busy by preparing for the onslaught of holidays. We first got ready for Halloween by picking pumpkins and apples at the Mt. Hood Apple Festival. The pumpkins we made into jack-o-lanterns in hopes of warding of spirits… the apples we made into apple butter, apple pies, and applesauce (yum!)

We spent Thanksgiving with Grace’s family in Canby, and the hilarity (as noted in the above photo) stemmed from the boys trouncing the girls in trivial pursuit.

December

Finally, the better part of December has been spent prepping for Christmas. The kids are heading to Idaho with their mother for the holidays, so we’ve already had Christmas(!) at my house, and “Daddyclaus” visited last night.

We’ve had a wonderful year and look forward to an extraordinary 2010.

May love and peace bless you this holiday season… From us to you ; )

*For a hard copy of this “month-by-month calendar”, send $29.95 to me to receive, within 3-4 weeks, your very own replica.

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