Holidays 2008

We wish a very happy holiday to all our family and friends. Deciding to skip one tiny bit of stress this year, I decided to write our holiday note AFTER the holidays. So, here it is. 2008 was another whirlwind at the Guardia household. It will come as no surprise to anyone, but RJ is still all sports, all the time. In January - April 2008 he played squirt level hockey for Somerville and the Jr. Bruins (as an alternate). That meant 3-4 nights of hockey each week, plus 2-3 and sometimes more, games on the weekend. RJ had a blast and the coaching staff at Jr. Bruins was great for RJ. It was a nice change of pace from the local program. We love the local program, but having some "new blood" was good for him. RJ's two teams competed in a few tournaments so RJ got quite a bit of hockey in during the season. We also continue to be big Hockey East fans and have our season tickets to BU Terriers Hockey.
Of course as hockey winds down both spring soccer and lacrosse heat up. RJ plays on the #1 boys team in town for soccer and plays LAX in Medford, MA, right next door. RJ played baseball in town too, but this summer skipped the baseball all stars and went off to Panama for 4 weeks to test his Spanish speaking skills, and apparently his surf boarding and skate boarding skills as well. Papa and Moje report that his is quite good and capable with his Spanish. The trip was a big milestone for all of us as RJ traveled all by himself from Newark to Panama and return. In fall, RJ ended up spending quite a bit of soccer time as a keeper and has proven to have some skills here as well. Kira enjoyed some soccer too, but she is not as much of a sports nut as her big brother. Kira is our musician. She takes piano lessons, sings a beautiful rendition of Somewhere over the Rainbow and attended music camp in Cambridge over the summer where she learned to play the Harp, Violin, Drums and about 15 other instruments. One of her big items on her wish list for Santa was a pink violin (which she got). Kira is now at Unidos for K and comes home most days singing in Spanish. She's quickly learning to read and her teacher reports that she's a good friend to all in the class.

We were also able to take a big trip this year - not only to Panama, which we do annually and did do in 2008 with our best friends MJ, Lou and Danny and Dave, but we went all the way back to Sydney AUS. I went ahead of the family and did the trek through Asia - starting in Tokyo, off to Beijing for a few days and then to Singapore. Coincidentally I stayed in the same hotel I did on my first trip to Singapore back in the Lotus days before Rick and I moved there (1994!). The family met me in Sydney and we enjoyed two weeks of site seeing, visiting friends (thanks Juli and Chris), making chocolate with the Symantec team and of course buying some wine (the Hunter Valley has a special place for us). The kids did wonderfully on the flight and Rick survived. He managed to use that 10 hour layover in SF to his advantage so that  by the time the kids got on the plane for the big flight they were 97.8% asleep. Kira is the envy of many of her friends' moms when they find out that she is the world traveler - Panama, Guadeloupe, Barcelona, Paris, Sydney....

Rick and I are still gainfully employed during this turbulent time. Rick is at Allurent and I am at Symantec. We count our blessings and celebrate our paychecks. We have been lucky enough to enjoy our Cape house and have a plan to be in Panama soon with Paul and Lisa Bupivi. I am still wishing for a trip to Mauritius, but that might have to wait until my 50th. Until then, we can be found at one of the many ice-cold hockey rinks around town now that it is winter again and RJ is again obsessed with his favorite sport. This time he plays for Somerville PW and the North Shore Raiders. He's made many good friends in both organizations and Rick and I count the other hockey parents as part of our extended family.

Recently we took a few days to Sunday River and got both RJ and Kira out on snowboards. Skiing is for the old folks I guess. We've had some pretty good snows so far this season and are happy we bought that snow blower last year.

The kids have missed 2 days of school because of snow and we had to rejig our New Year's plans because of the weather. We ended up having a lovely time at MJ and Lou's house, kicking back and enjoying a nice meal, great wine and some foie. What a way to ring in the new year.

Don't be a stranger, come visit us when you are in the Boston area. Peace and prosperity to you in 2009.
Love, Rick, Jill, RJ and Kira