Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009

Happy Holidays!  How quickly 2009 has come and gone!

This year we shared and celebrated lots of new beginnings in the lives of family members and friends. Joanne was honored to be a bridesmaid for our dear friends Alison and Noah Bradow’s wedding in April, and Travis was thrilled to be a groomsman in the wedding of our good friends Justin and Kristen Salava in September.  Additionally, we welcomed baby Landon to friends Justin and Kristen Salava, baby Claire to friends Adam and Carrie Kendall, and baby Issac to Travis’ cousins Grant and Emily Bowman.  So much joy! 

In March, we were lucky enough to fly out to Austin, Texas for a long weekend to celebrate Joanne’s brother Will’s 21st birthday.  Our dear friend Tim flew out for the occasion as well, and we enjoyed visiting the Alamo, the San Antonio Riverwalk, and of course experiencing the infamous 6th Street bar scene.  It was a great trip!  Now that Travis’ brother Tyler is in Texas as well, we hope to squeeze a visit in to see them both again in the New Year.

In June we celebrated our first wedding anniversary with a trip to Mackinac Island.  We enjoyed a relaxed weekend filled with delicious food, sightseeing, lots of lilacs, and reminiscing about our wedding and our first year of marriage.  It is truly amazing how fast this first year has gone, and we continue to be just so thankful that we have each other to share, learn, love, and grow with.

We were hit with unexpected bad news in July when Joanne was laid off from her job.  It was an incredibly emotional time, and we were thankful for family and friends who rallied around us.  Luckily, we’ve been able to turn the experience into a positive one, as it’s provided Joanne with the opportunity to go back to graduate school full-time.  Joanne made it through a tough first semester back with good grades and now has just five classes and a thesis to go before she will have earned a Masters degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Non-Profit Leadership.

Directly following Joanne’s lay off, we became parents to a litter of four day-old kittens!  After finding them near our house, we took the kittens in and fostered them until they were old enough to be adopted out. This experience led to Joanne’s active involvement in local 501c3 non-profit animal welfare organization Carol’s Ferals, where she has accepted a position on the board of directors and has been involved in kitten fostering.  It has been a challenging but rewarding experience thus far – and Joanne looks forward to working hard for the organization (and the animal population) in 2010.

This fall, Travis joined a local chapter of United States Masters Swimming.  USMS is a national organization that provides organized workouts, competitions, clinics and workshops for adult’s aged 18 and over. Programs are open to all adult swimmers (fitness, triathlete, competitive, non-competitive) who are dedicated to improving their fitness through swimming.  While it was certainly a challenge to fit into his busy schedule at times – Travis really enjoyed getting back into swimming.

We are still enjoying our “new” home – and are finally settling into the roles and responsibilities of being homeowners.  Although our to-do list of house projects is still long, we were able to get a good amount of painting done this year, as well as put in a new fence in the back yard and have the back yard landscaped.  We celebrated our back yard’s evolution from “mud pit” to “party space” at the end of the summer with a BBQ for family and friends.

We are so very thankful at this time of year for all that we have, especially when many around us have so little.  May this season bring much love and joy to you and yours, and 2010 be your best year yet.

Travis, Joanne, Bella and the Cats

Joanne, Travis and Bella -- December 2009

I'll be taking about a week or so off blogging while we travel up and down the state to spend time with each of our families.  I look forward to sharing our Christmas celebrations with you, and welcome in 2010, upon my return.  My very best holiday wishes to each and every one of you!

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