Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 Sheldon Holiday Letter

Dear Family and Friends,

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year! As you can see, we decided to go green this year to save both trees and dollars. We hope you enjoy this Holiday e-letter; we had fun putting it together.

This past year was filled with changes, trips, school, work, and fun. Having moved to Chatham, NJ in May of last year, we are happy to report that we are comfortably settled in this wonderful town. It truly feels like home to us, and we are blessed by friends, family, and neighbors who have supported, welcomed, and helped us as we’ve adapted to our new home.

Here’s a video of Alexa and one of her friends, Hannah, who lives one street away:

In April of this year our entire family went on a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. One of the highlights of the trip was getting to meet the Disney Princesses at the Princess Breakfast. Emma and Alexa also enjoyed makeovers at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Alexa selected a traditional princess look while Emma went with more of a Miley Cyrus meets Pop Star Diva ‘do. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge where Emma and Alexa had their first opportunity to try out bunk beds. They were an instant success and they have been sleeping in bunk beds and sharing a bedroom since June.

John visited his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, in May for his 15th year college reunion. He enjoyed spending time with friends, eating an authentic cheese steak, and taking in all of the changes that have happened since he was last on campus.

We welcomed our au pair, Kathi Opitz into our family in Mid-July. She’s from Berlin, Germany and after her year with us will return there to apply to be a pilot for Lufthansa. It’s been such a blessing to have Kathi in our lives and we are so grateful that she chose us as her host family. She’s already taught the girls how to count and do simple math in German!:

We love how Alexa can't help herself and jumps in. ;)

Upstate New York wine country was the destination for the Rivera Girls’ Weekend Away in September. This year Jen, Caitlin, Mom Rivera, Su Li, and Mei Li joined in the fun. They stayed at the Aurora Inn and had a memorable trip following the Cayuga Wine Trail and enjoying some delicious wine.

October means Halloween and this year’s costumes were lots of fun. Emma decided to be Cleopatra, Alexa selected a 50’s Poodle Skirt Girl outfit, and Kathi dressed as a witch. The weather was colder than last year, but we still managed to get over 100 trick-or-treaters!

John and Elia went with their friends Linda and Jean to Aruba in early December. We lost count of how many Slippery Monkeys we consumed and rotations of the Lazy River we completed during the week. It was an important get-away that helped us re-energize for the year ahead.

We have done a lot of traveling besides Aruba and Philly. Business has taken us to San Fran, Minneapolis, Orange County and Chicago. Our favorite times have been when we've been able to visit friends and family in Cape Cod, Niskayuna, Ft. Lauderdale, Poughkeepsie, Saratoga, Delaware, Hartford, Boston and many other places.

On the job front, John was recently promoted to Sr. Partner (a somewhat honorary, but nice distinction) at Ogilvy mid-year and more recently added Executive Director of Marketing Technology to his roles at the company.

At the end of March, Elia left her job as VP of Program Management at Pershing to join UnitedHealthcare in Basking Ridge, NJ as an IT Program Manager. Not only is the commute amazingly better (20 minutes driving through beautiful horse country versus 50 minutes of polluted air on a highway) but the job is a much better fit for her professionally. She’s currently managing a multi-million dollar program that will hopefully improve UnitedHealthcare’s performance in the next couple of years.

Emma, now seven, is a second grader at Milton Avenue School. She loves her class, teacher, and friends. She also enjoys tennis, swimming, soccer and Brownies. Emma’s message to everyone is: "Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah! I can't wait to show you all my new grown-up teeth. Also - want to buy some Girl Scout cookies?" (She is taking Daddy's marketing job to heart)

Alexa, now 4½, is in her second year of preschool at Stanley Preschool. In addition to enjoying school, she also enjoys ballet, tap, swimming, and craft projects. Alexa’s message to everyone is: "Happy Holidays! Ducky and I are hoping to welcome a new teddy bear to the family this Christmas".

In closing, we wish you and yours a fun-filled holiday season and a safe, happy, and healthy 2009!

We leave you with a clip from Emma’s holiday concert this year (she is in the upper right hand corner):


John, Elia, Emma, Alexa and Kathi


Uncle Matt said...

Cool concept to make a blog of it. Happy Holidays!

Carol A. Diesel said...

Coolest holiday letter EVER!

Jessica said...

Great Idea! Sounds like you had a fun year!! Happy Holidays to you and your family John.

Amy said...

very impressed....
I loved it!!!!
Happy Holidays