As we sat together to decide what to focus on for this year’s holiday note, we spent a great deal of time reflecting on the past year. We found the magnitude of change that this year brought to our lives, and the lives of those we love, to be very challenging to communicate into words. We also felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and decided to primarily focus on that.
Thank you. Thanks to each of you for the love and support you have expressed to our families over the past year, at a time when we have needed it more than we had ever hoped. We are so thankful for each of you, and thankful to have had the amazing relationships with those that we have lost. Although we cherish those relationships, the absence of those relationships has caused a void this holiday season, and every day, that is ever so deep.
We are thankful for the additions to our family since our last holiday letter. Our niece arrived just days after Christmas ‘07, Miss Bridget Ruth Warren. This little one has brought so much joy to our lives, the first to make us an aunt and uncle. Most of you have had to put up with us forwarding photos, videos, websites, etc.! Ali’s brother, Brian, has been a saint with his documentation of her young life – is it clear that we could not be any prouder? We feel blessed to have had three visits with our little buddy this year, with two trips to Denver and a bonus visit in Dallas as the Skeeters Family (Ali’s maternal relatives) gathered to celebrate Grand Jan’s 85th.
We also welcome the new Mrs. Kendra Parks to our family. Kendra married Ali’s step-brother, Travis, this past March down in Ali’s mom & Kermit’s hometown in southern Arkansas. We love those two newlyweds and hope to make a visit to their new home in Honolulu, where Travis continues to move up the ranks in the U.S. Coast Guard.
In July, Brett made the exciting move to join the Seattle office of Lee & Hayes, an intellectual property law firm based out of Spokane, WA, with its Seattle office located in the Convention Center downtown. Still a patent attorney, Brett is enjoying the other side of patent law where he is preparing and prosecuting patent applications instead of litigating issued patents in court. Despite the current economic market, it is an exciting time to be at Lee & Hayes, as the firm is growing.
Ali is thoroughly enjoying year two at Amazon.com where she continues to work as Senior Merchandising Manager on the Music team to market music for record labels on the website. Her role has provided the opportunity for trips to LA for the Grammy’s, Miami for her work with the Latin Music labels, San Francisco for a convention and of course multiple trips to New York where she managed to loop in weekends with Dad on Long Island and friends in Manhattan.
With over half of our weekends spent out of town this year, it’s been a one of many travels for both Brett and Ali. Weddings continued to give the perfect reason for a guy’s trip to Vegas, ladies trip to San Francisco, and nuptials in San Diego, Montana and Lake Chelan. Road trips to “the River”, a ski weekend in Crystal Mountain, the annual Brewfest in Portland with the U.P.S. crew, a houseboat trip to Lake Roosevelt & weekend camping trips with friends kept us busy, but the highlights were definitely our chance to leave the lower 48 for a Schlameus family trip to Maui and our unforgettable adventure - a two week backpacking trip through New Zealand.
Luckily this year brought far fewer “events” at the house than in the first couple years in our home. Home Depot has seen far less of us this year, with our only project on the books for ’08 being a new paint job at last – “Big Blue” is back. We continue to enjoy hosting several events from the many, many dinners with family and friends to the annual fantasy football draft, a Nintendo Tecmo Bowl Tourney, blind brew taste tests, poker night and of course (despite the sad sports scene in Seattle) the game day events in the Man Cave.
HOPE & GRATITUDE
Again, we thank you. The trials of our family this year have put us on the receiving end of your gracious gestures. We hope that one day we are able to repay each of you for being there for the two of us, and especially for the other members in our family who have needed you so much. We are thankful for the time we have had with you, and are sorry for those we may not have been able to see this year. We are so thankful for our new friends and family that were brought into our lives this year. Thank you again for supporting us when life isn’t perfect. Thank you for your prayers, kind words and for being there for our family members when they needed it. We promise to be there for each of you when you need us.
We wish you and yours a very happy and healthy 2009!