Every year practically since our family began in 1978, I have created a Christmas card and/ or letter sharing our adventures, photos, and creativity.
This year, due to our bi-coastal situation, it was difficult to coordinate and execute the production and mailing of the cards. So, I decided to simply post it on my Blog and Facebook, and hope that all those near and dear to us would see it and share in our Merry Christmas wishes.
2012 was a year full of adventure, challenges, unexpected twists, and (almost) two new granddaughters. I'll try to condense our year into a few short paragraphs.
February brought the celebration of the 100th birthday of my dear Mom, Vi Clark. She's still doing great, living in her little apartment in Moorpark, with her cat. Living near her daughters and their families has given Mom a wonderful quality of life, and she enjoys regular shopping excursions and visits with the family. She almost had two new great-grandchildren born on her birthday- both were born just 5 days later, on the same day of February 9.
In January I enrolled in an extensive graphic design certificate program at a local adult education center. I spent many hours working hard on my projects for the next 6 months, learning new Photoshop and Illustrator skills.
Bruce and I took a couple of fun long weekend trips- one to nearby Newport Beach in May, where we enjoyed a beautiful resort stay, and several day excursions to favorite beach spots: Balboa Island, Crystal Cove, and Corona Del Mar. In July, for our 34th anniversary, we traveled up the coast for a relaxing stay at a bed and breakfast in quaint Cambria.
In August, we went to Utah to celebrate our grandson Jackson's third birthday. I stayed behind in Utah to visit the kids, and spent two heavenly weeks just enjoying my time doing whatever I wanted, with Alec, Alicia, Jackson, and Amy and Jon. I enjoyed visiting friends, doing some family history, and taking a lot of photos.
Fulfilling my unemployment requirements of actually searching for a job, I worked with a couple of recruiters, and finally landed a job in.... New Jersey. Wow, what a shock that one was! It never occurred to me when I began the process, that I would actually accept a job so far from home, and that we could figure out a way to make it work. I am Design Manager at Toys R Us corporate offices, designing girls toys for their exclusive brands. So, that is how Bruce and I ended up driving across the country in September, finding an apartment in Midland Park, NJ, and beginning a whole new adventure. Bruce returned home to California to get the house ready to lease, and I stayed behind in New Jersey, to work, deal with a hurricane, and adjust to a new life. It's been quite the adventure! (You can check out more of my adventures by visiting my blog archives to see what I've been up to)
Our children have enjoyed wonderful adventures themselves. Oldest son Ian and his wife Jessica are living in San Marcos Texas, where they welcomed our first granddaughter Sofie into their family on November 26. A couple of weeks later, on December 15, Jessica received her Masters Degree from Texas State University. We're so proud of her! Our grandson Aidan turns 8 at the end of January, and we can't believe how quickly he has grown. But the best news of all was that Ian and Jessica were sealed together in the Salt Lake Temple on September 17. You can see the happy family on the photo above.
Daughter Amy and her sweet husband Jon, are still living in Salt Lake, and expecting their first child (and our second granddaughter) in late March. Amy still manages Jolley's boutique, and Jon is going to the University of Utah full time, studying Exercise and Sports Science. They are the proud parents of puppy Mia, a mix of Yorkie and Pomeranian. She is adorable, and can also be seen in the Christmas layout above.
Alec and Alicia and our golden haired grandson Jackson, are living in Draper, Utah, but are planning on moving back to California soon. In addition to his work in sales at Daeus Financial, Alec has partnered with old Moorpark friend Steven Mallet, to open a film production company called Green Glow Films. They have been busy making music videos, television pilots, and are pitching a full-length film concept or two. Ian has also begun working with them, doing some screenwriting. Alicia and Jackson are busy with pre-school activities, museum trips, the Little Gym, and all of the other fun activities a three-and-a-half year old can fill up his, and Mom's, time with.
Annie is living at home, working, taking a class or two at Moorpark College, and interning at a recording/ video studio in Burbank. She is preparing to go on a mission this Spring. Annie can always be found surrounded by creative projects, singing, usually with a book in her hand. She is active in her Singles Ward, and finds lots of opportunities to share her talents with others. I miss her like crazy!
Bruce has been spending the past 3 months getting our house ready to lease. We have decided to keep the house, and put everything in storage for the next few years. Bruce is still actively involved in his Coal Projects Group investment business. In fact, one of the biggest reasons we accepted the job in New Jersey is because his job will be taking him to Kentucky during the week beginning in the next month or two. It is much closer for Bruce to fly home to me in New Jersey on the weekends, than to fly back to California every weekend. It will be a real blessing to be in the same time zone for a change!
Our Christmas wish is that all of our friends, family and loved ones, enjoy a blessed holiday season, full of joy and peace.