Merry Christmas,

As you saw on the postcard, we did a lot of downsizing in 2011 – even our Christmas greetings downsized to a postcard – so I appreciate you taking the time to find the website to read our annual family recap.

After living on Paula Lane for 17 years, it became apparent to us that the house had become too much for us. It had too many bedrooms now that Ethan and Valerie weren’t living at home, too much yard work and way too much mortgage. We are grateful that we didn’t have to give up our first born to Wells Fargo in order to get out from under it, so after about a six month process, we moved in early November to a cozy condominium in a quiet complex called The Cottages in Cotati.

It’s more of a drive to get Jennifer Lynn to her full-on schedule of high school activities but one of the best things that has come from moving up the road is that Steve has had the opportunity to share office space with a long-time business associate in a nearby community. After working alone in a home office for the past eight years, more contact with the outside world and a bigger separation between home and office feels really good to him.

On a beautiful day in May, it was a thrill for us to watch Ethan and 5,000 of his closest friends graduate from San Francisco State. It was definitely an opportunity for me to be in the moment and set aside my worries about the job market, his compounding student loans and the $56 in his checking account. However, I needn’t have stressed, because he did get a job at a small video production company located in the nice part of Oakland. He’s working the phones to bring in projects so he can build his film industry credentials on IMDB – that’s the internet encyclopedia of movie data. He really likes the sound of Ethan Rustad, Associate Producer.

Valerie’s second year at Chapman University in Orange, CA, has been a lot sunnier than her first. We know she’s doing fine because unlike the frequent teary phone calls during her freshman year, we never hear from her. She’s too busy perfecting her graphic design projects, working part-time at a law firm in Santa Ana, taking acrobatic classes and watching “Friends” reruns on Netflix with her roommate.

Jennifer Lynn was the only one of the three kids who actually had to experience the move with us…Ethan and Valerie just got a text message from us with our new address so they could find their way here for Thanksgiving. Jennifer’s only requirement for our new home was that she didn’t have to share a bathroom with mom and dad and since our new place has two-and-a-half baths, we exceeded her expectations.

As a sophomore this year, Jennifer Lynn is combining two activities that surprisingly have something in common: cheerleading and playing the tuba. That’s because that both require heavy lifting. Wow, that girl’s getting some shoulders on her.

I have been very fortunate to continue my position at the Petaluma Visitors Center and Downtown Association in spite of the dwindling reserves in the city’s coffers. And Steve’s versatility as a marketer, designer, consultant, cartoonist, filmmaker, and pretty much anything else anyone will pay him for, has seen us through the tough economy.

We are looking forward to hanging some pictures in our new place, letting out the collective breath we’ve been holding for the last year, and seeing what opportunities the New Year has in store.

We wish you peace, happiness and prosperity in the New Year!