Folena Family 2015

We sincerely hope 2015 was great year for you and yours … here is a brief look into the year that was for the Folena Family.

This was a big transition year for Amanda and Justin as they both got new jobs. Amanda is teaching English literature and composition at Archbishop Mitty High School (her alma mater) and Justin is the theater manager and audio/visual do-it-all at Serra High School. The reasons for their respective changes are numerous but mostly it had to do with a more set schedule and benefits. Since they both work for private Catholic high schools their schedules mesh very well as they can look forward to being off at the same times and at home on weekends – something they didn’t have at all with their previous employment. They both started this summer and they seem to really enjoy their new positions.

Before the change to teaching, Amanda produced a great show this spring at Broadway By The Bay. Les Misérables was a tremendous show with a very talented cast that garnered rave reviews. They received a bunch of Theatre Bay Area award nominations and packed the house just about every show. We were very impressed with the staging of this massive production as it rivaled many of the touring Broadway productions on a shoestring budget. Amanda and her team at BBBay pulled off a memorable show. Amanda actually directed the 3rd show in the series, West Side Story, as she received a TBA nomination for best director. She certainly left BBBay on a very high note.

We had a nice visit in the spring from family from Brasil – Amarilis and José Alfredo Laurenço dos Santos came through town on their way to a Hawaiian cruise and spent a couple of days in the Bay Area. They are family on Paul’s mother’s side. They enjoyed visiting with us and seeing Felicity. They were very happy to see Lala and spend some time with her as well.

Felicity had her first birthday party at our house in May. Robbie flew out and joined us as we celebrated with friends and family. The party theme was Zoo Animals and it was special in that I saved a banner that Paul drew for Amanda of various zoo animals when she was a little girl and posted it – 2 generations, 1 banner. What can a Nana say about Felicity other than she’s the best, brightest, loveliest … I think you get the picture. She really enjoys music as we bring her to Spanish Playtime and My Little Conservatory music classes each week. She also has an affinity to being outdoors and at the park whenever possible. Birds in flight captivate her attention. She is just a joy to be with.

In June our niece Shannon Finnegan graduated from UC Davis. We spent a couple of days up in Lodi to attend the actual graduation ceremony on campus. Very hard to believe that little Shannon is all grown up and a lovely, talented and resourceful adult. We were able to spend some time getting to know her boyfriend Donnie and also to meet his parents. He’s a fine young man – we approve!

Robbie and Desta have been very busy but I’m very happy that they also take some time to enjoy life. This summer they flew to Bali for a vacation and loved it there. It’s a very long flight but well worth it as every picture they took looked like a postcard. It took a bit to get used to the humidity but they were treated extremely well, experienced the exotic culture, ate well and most of all got to unwind and grab some requisite R&R. They highly recommend it as a vacation destination.

Click on an image to expand the view.

Paul and I went out to visit them in Denver in September for a long weekend. We took in a Buffs game, went and ate a burger at the legendary Sink (shown on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives) just off the CU campus in Boulder and had a fun time all around. One of the things we did for fun was to go paint and drink wine – there is an establishment in the mall near their home called Whimsy Paint & Sip where they teach you how to paint a scene on canvas while enjoying cocktails. What a concept! We had a blast.

Also in September, Paul’s sister Sandra and her hubby Wayne celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary by hosting a very nice brunch reception at the plush Sofitel Hotel in Redwood City. They invited family and friends – some of Sandra’s friends who Paul hadn’t seen since the wedding itself. These are the same friends who grew up together when they all lived in San Francisco out near the Cow Palace. It was great to see everyone and to spend a little bit of time reminiscing. The food was out of this world – highly recommend it.

Robbie and Desta flew out for Thanksgiving this year. We got together on Thanksgiving day with Sandra and Wayne and then the Finnegans, my brother Jim, Joanie and Shannon, came down on Saturday for a second feast. We brought my Dad down – he celebrated his 96th birthday the weekend prior to Thanksgiving – so we were able to spend some quality family time together. Our niece Shannon announced that she was engaged so we got a chance to celebrate that as well. The family just keeps on growing!As far as Dad is concerned, he’s still living by himself and doing well with the marvelous support of his neighbors. He complains of having slowed down and needing to sleep a lot and I keep telling him he’s 96! and that goes with the territory. 

Robbie and Desta also invested in some income property this year as they closed on a home in the Cherry Creek area of Denver. They plan to rent it out for the short term but they might move into it at a later date because the school district and specifically the high school in the area is the highest rated in the state. It gives them some options when they have little ones of their own and in the meantime is generating equity. Win win.

Lala is doing well in her assisted living arrangement. She’s looked after 24/7 and treated very well. The staff there is very kind and go the extra mile to make her comfortable. Her health has actually improved as her physicians have scaled back the number of meds she was on. Paul goes up every week to bring her groceries and his homemade pancakes.

Felicity Grace Karr, 18 months

I’m still working at Kaiser part-time and teaching both NRP and CPR. Paul is in his 2nd year at Tiny Tots and has helped them upgrade their back office software to something a little more state of the art. But for both of us these are secondary to what we really like doing and that’s babysitting Felicity. Amanda has Felicity in daycare at Primary Plus here near our home 2 days a week while we try to take care of her the other 3 days. The usual routine is Paul takes care of her Tuesdays and Thursdays and I take her on Wednesday. Although we change this up from time to time, the arrangement seems to work and we’re getting to spend a lot of quality time with Felicity – watching her grow and develop is absolutely priceless.

Well that’s about it in summary. We wish you and yours the very best that life has to offer – health, happiness and joy. Onward to 2016!

2015 Family Photo Gallery

Felicity's 1st Birthday ...
Amirilis & José Alfredo's Visit ...
Shannon's Graduation ...
Sandra & Wayne's 25th ...
Pretty and Sassy Girl ...
All the rest ...

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