Thursday, December 25, 2003

Happy Holidays 2003

We hope this letter finds you happy, healthy and enjoying the spirit of this holiday season.

We always send a photo card from the biggest trip we’ve taken during the year, and this year is no exception. In January, we took a one-way road trip when we moved from our condo in Denver to Tara’s hometown of St. Louis.
We stayed with family for about 2 ½ months—with Tara’s mom, Jan, and Jan’s husband Bill, and also with Tara’s Uncle Greg—alternating places so as not to get on anyone’s nerves too much [and vice versa ;-) ]. Tara began studying for the Missouri Bar Exam, which was held 2/25 & 26, while Neal job-hunted. The end of February was great as Tara finished her exam, we sold our condo the 26th, and Neal celebrated his 32nd birthday on the 28th.

During that time we looked at 44 houses, and it was love at first sight when we arrived at the 45th! We found it March 3rd, closed the 31st, and moved in right away. Our home is located in south St. Louis City in the Holly Hills neighborhood. Carondelet Park, 3rd largest in the city, is just 1½ blocks from door. And we have a bunch of great neighbors. It has all the charm of a 1929 red brick/white stone Craftsman /Arts & Crafts-style house, but none of the hassle because it’s been updated. We have a two-car detached garage entered from the alley behind, a full basement that we use, plus two stories with a sunroom off the back, three bedrooms and 2 ½ baths—so there’s plenty of room for you to come visit!

In April, Tara learned that she passed the Missouri Bar Exam and, after the swearing-in ceremony in Jefferson City, we celebrated at Stone Hill Winery in Hermann, Missouri. The first weekend of May we camped and hiked in the lush Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. Then Neal began working as a business analyst/software tester at Anheuser Busch through the consulting firm Ibridge, and he loves it.

July 4th was spent with Neal’s side of our family at Lake Chautauqua, about an hour south of Buffalo, NY, where we swam, kayaked, jet-skied, and toured. Later in July Tara began working as a staff attorney in the Family Unit of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, and she enjoys it. Labor Day weekend we drove to Chicago, one of our favorite cities, where we stayed with and visited friends Scott & Jane and Eva & Stephen.

In September Neal’s mom and sister visited, Tara celebrated her 28th on the 24th, we had a big housewarming party, and we celebrated our first wedding anniversary the 28th. Halloween on our street was idyllic. 11/11 we adopted a darling cat we named Clydesdale. Thanksgiving in St. Louis was warm enough for touch football with no jackets; and we are thrilled for the first time to have put up a Christmas tree in our family home.

Love, Neal, Tara & Clydia.