As a wrap up to the year and also because I didn’t have time to write a blog for this week, I’m re-purposing (I love that word, it sounds so much better than saying that I’ve found a way around doing more work) our 2013 Christmas letter as my blog post for this week.

If you follow my blog, thank you for the time you haven taken over the past year to read my ramblings and hear about the happenings in our household. I wish you and those dear to you a very Merry Christmas.

 

This past year brought another move – the second one for us in two years. Given the frequency of our address changes, you might get the impression that we actually like moving. No chance of that – it just happened that the opportunity arose to move to a sunnier condo across the narrow driveway. We whittled down our possessions yet again in this most recent move and if we get any leaner and meaner, Steve and I will be sharing the same fork.

Ethan has completed the first year of his five year hitch in the army and is still immersed in Korean at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey. I regularly remind him how fortunate he is to be getting his Advanced Individual Training in one of the most beautiful places in the country. The DLI is like being back in college except that unlike SF State, he has to study. To burn off steam from eight hours a day of Korean, he and his buddies travel to weekend Bay Area GORUCK competitions (ruck is short for rucksack; the army term for a backpack.) These competitions involve creative combinations of ocean water, sand, pushups, running, log carrying and team building challenges all while carrying 40 pounds of bricks in your ruck.  I guess he just didn’t have enough fun in Basic Training.

In May, Valerie will graduate from Chapman with a major in graphic design. She is already putting her talents to work outside of the academic environment in a small design firm in Newport Beach. Between keeping up with her school assignments, internship, part-time job and martial arts classes, and new this year – a relationship (according to Facebook) – she is a busy girl and several days go by between hearing from her. Good thing that I can keep up on the happenings in her life by following her on Instagram.

Jennifer Lynn got her driver’s license shortly after the beginning of 2013 and that was the last we saw of her. Okay, I’m exaggerating but she is eager to exert her independence and hopeful that the spring will bring news that she’s been accepted into a college far, far away from Cotati. While we wait to find out if the scholarship money has enough zeros attached to it, Jennifer is spending her senior year of high school balancing her time between her IB classes, working at Starbucks and the most recent expression of her adventurous personality, joining the wrestling team. Boys…girls…wrestling…how does this work, I wondered? She assures me it’s all very legit and as Steve reminded me, it’s a useful skill for a girl to know how defend herself – especially one who wants to land on the east coast.

In between branding and design work for Rustad Marketing clients, Steve is very involved as chairman of a non-profit dedicated to helping veterans with severe PTSD. He also volunteers with the Petaluma Police Department and generously gives of his time whether they need help with crowd control or want him to shoot a video of a town hall meeting.

While I have loved working with the community at the Petaluma Visitors Program for the last three years, I will be leaving the PVP at the end of the year to join a company that makes promotional products, particularly for museum stores. It’s hard to say goodbye but I’m looking forward to new challenges and growth.

Steve and I are very thankful to be in good health surrounded by faithful friends. We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and blessings in the New Year.

Love,

The Rustads