Dear Family and Friends,
Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, and Happy New Year!
As we did last year, we decided to go green rather than send out cards and photos to save paper, costs and time, while still providing you an update on the past year. We hope you enjoy it!
The way we would sum up 2009: busy, busy, busy. We went on quite a few trips, learned a lot at school, accomplished a lot at work, and found many opportunities to have fun together.
In March 2009, Elia, Kathi (our au pair from Berlin, Germany), and Emma visited Washington, DC. Unfortunately, Alexa and John had to stay home because Alexa wasn’t feeling well. While there, we visited several of the Smithsonian Museums, rode the Metro, saw the White House, stood in front of the US Capitol Building, visited the Lincoln Memorial, and enjoyed Ethiopian food in Georgetown (correction: Emma wants everyone to know that she found the Ethiopian food way too spicy). We must have clocked at least twenty miles of walking, maybe more. It was a lot of fun.
The photo to the right is Emma in front of the World War II Memorial.
In April of this year our entire family went on a trip to Myrtle Beach to enjoy some sun and sea. The weather was colder than we expected, so the sun and sea part was only able to happen a couple of times but we still managed to have fun. While we were there, we celebrated Alexa’s 5th birthday.
Here’s a picture of John, Emma, and Alexa finishing up some ice cream cones at the Shops at Barefoot Landing in Myrtle Beach.
Later in April, we made a quick weekend trip to visit Philadelphia. Kathi, Emma, and Alexa all tasted their very first authentic Philadelphia cheesesteaks at Jim's. Emma and Kathi really enjoyed theirs. The weather was unseasonably warm and we enjoyed the sun and the flowers as we walked to see the Liberty Bell.
Here’s a picture of Emma and Alexa outside of the Liberty Bell Center:
We even had time to visit John’s alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania.
The girls posed for this picture with Ben.
We welcomed two new cousins to the family this year. On June 19th, Madison Gail and Morgan Jean were born to John’s sister, Debi, and her husband Jeff. We visited them later that month and enjoyed meeting them, holding them, feeding them, and watching them sleep.
The summer was fun; filled with summer camps, visits to friends, Elia’s High School Reunion, and – of course – ice cream:
In July, our au pair, Kathi Opitz, who’d joined our family in July of last year returned to Berlin. It was sad to say goodbye but we know that we will all see each other again. She passed the first test needed to qualify to enter pilot’s training for Lufthansa, so we’re very excited to hear more news in the future.
We were happy to welcome our new au pair, Julia Englund Tunhaw, to our family in early July. She’s from Jönköping, Sweden and after her year with us will return there to study psychology. We are so blessed to have Julia in our family. She’s taught us a lot about Sweden and we have already shared some American traditions with her.
Here’s a picture of her with John, Elia, and Emma from when we visited Cape Cod this summer:
For Halloween. Emma decided to be Alice Cullen from Twilight (a vampire, for those of you unfamiliar with the book) and Alexa decided to be a sassy princess. The weather was rainy, but we still managed to get our usual 100+ trick-or-treaters.
John and Elia went for a very relaxing vacation in early November to Aruba. We enjoyed Slippery Monkeys and spent our days floating around the Lazy River and catching up with each other. Vacation bliss.
On the job front, John left Ogilvy in February for a new opportunity to help grow a new discipline in the New York office of London-based Bartle, Bogle & Hegarty (BBH) - a mid-sized agency where he has worked on fun stuff for Axe, LEGO and helping on new business with Westin (we won!) and Cadillac (which we better win in January).
Elia has been at UnitedHealth Group based out of their Basking Ridge, NJ office for a year and a half now and she’s happy to report that she enjoys her job. She’s Director of IT Project Management and runs a multi-year program for the enterprise information technology organization. Her program is responsible for helping reduce overall IT run rate costs and implementing changes that will better enable the organization to deliver effective, efficient technology solutions.
Emma, now eight, is a third grader at Milton Avenue School. She loves her class, her teacher (who is internet savvy like us), and spending time with her friends. She also enjoys tennis, swimming, soccer, basketball and Brownies. Emma’s message to everyone is: "I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”
Alexa, now 5½, started Kindergarten this year at Milton Avenue School. In addition to enjoying school, she also enjoys ballet, tap, swimming, soccer and craft projects. Alexa’s message to everyone is: "I hope Santa gives you all great presents. Remember to be good!".
In closing, we wish you and yours a fun-filled holiday season and a safe, happy, and healthy 2010!
We leave you with a clip of Emma and Alexa dancing to Jingle Bell Rock on the day we decorated our Christmas tree this year. Enjoy!
John, Elia, Emma, Alexa and Julia