Folena Family 2021

Buone Feste
oas Festas 

With these challenging times it’s nice to get back to some level of normalcy. So with that dear friends and loved ones, here is our family year in review for 2021 …

Photo by Felicity Karr

I need to actually go back a little further as 2020 ended with a very bittersweet month for the family. On December 6th Paul’s mom Lala passed away, and on the 9th our latest grandchild Faye Marie was born.
Lala had really struggled with the pandemic not allowing visitors for most of the year, and that caused a significant decline in her overall health and well-being. Paul and his sister Sandra did their best to keep in touch and use video to check up on her, but it was too difficult as Lala retreated. In November she fell and that was close to the final blow. Paul was crushed as the family wasn’t even able to provide religious services for her. We all miss her so much.

Reunited for Eternity. RIP

I left to help out Rob and Desta in Denver just before Halloween last year and didn’t return home until January. It was a challenging pregnancy as both baby Faye and mom had longer than usual hospital stays after the birth. Fortunately, everyone is fine now. Baby Faye is a kick – she is always smiling and hungry. She seems to really get along well with her big brother Jordan too.

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The spring was pretty uneventful as we tried to be as safe as possible: stay home, stream movies and videos and order food deliveries. We got vaccinated – I got the Pfizer and Paul got J&J – so that made us feel a little better about going out and about, although nothing indoors. We celebrated birthdays – mine, Amanda’s and Felicity’s 7th – just among ourselves as we created our own immediate family bubble.
I continue to teach NRP but I’ve stopped teaching Infant and Child CPR. With COVID restrictions it was not practical to continue with the CPR classes and it’s about time to start cutting back on the amount of classes anyway since I’m starting to eye retirement. NRP has been a challenge during COVID. Early in the year I was limiting my class to 4 students to try and keep a decent amount of physical distance between students and teacher. I’ve recently increased class size back to pre-COVID levels since most all are vaccinated now.
Our first real outing was going to the Oakland Zoo in June. Paul and I like visiting zoos and we had never been to the Oakland one so off we went. It is very nice as you even get to see some spectacular vistas of the bay from their gondolas. We were very surprised at the quality of their food as we had lunch overlooking the east bay hills. Soon thereafter we got a little more daring as we took in a movie at the Pruneyard Cinema – we saw Disney’s “Cruella.” Little steps toward normalcy.
In July we took off to visit Rob and his family so that Paul could finally meet Faye for the first time. She didn’t disappoint as she greeted him with her patented smile. We had a great visit as we took day trips to see the Morrison Natural History Museum and the Denver aquarium. We also spent quite a few afternoons at Valley Country Club by the pool with the grandkids. Jordan really enjoys playing in the pool with his friends and even with his Nana. While we were there Paul made some of his family pasta sauce and also his Brazilian flan to share with the Asfaw family.
It was back to school in August for in-person learning for Felicity as she started 2nd grade at Queen of Apostles. Hunter also started attending pre-kindergarten there as Amanda and Justin returned to in-person teaching at Mitty High. They all had to adjust as the previous school year was predominantly remote with Zoom classes and activities.
In September we headed down to Carmel to the Tickle Pink Inn for a couple of days to celebrate our anniversary. We went whale watching in Monterey Bay and just happened to luck out and experience a once-a-year type of excursion where we saw quite the whale show. We saw humpbacks feeding galore and even witnessed a humpback calf that performed breaches for us near the boat like she was putting on a show just for us. It was simply spectacular as the photos below, taken by a professional photographer on our trip, can attest! I still find it hard to believe that we actually witnessed this whale behavior right next to our boat.
Whale photos by Daniel Bianchetta of Insight Photography
We celebrated Hunter’s 4th birthday in September. The theme of his birthday was Hunter’s favorite - zombies. He really enjoys playing a particular video game where zombies are prevalent so naturally he wanted that for his birthday party.
Rob flew out in late October to attend a 49ers game with Paul, but the plans got derailed by the atmospheric river event that just poured rain and wind in the area on that particular Sunday. So it was decided that we would virtual tailgate and watch the game at home – good choice as the 49ers were terrible that game. While Rob was here we went down on Saturday to Gilroy Gardens for their Halloween festivities with Amanda’s family. Felicity and Hunter had a great time with their uncle. Paul and I went back down to Amanda’s for Halloween night itself to see the kids trick-or-treat and experience Halloween like it’s supposed to be. Amanda’s neighborhood was rocking the candy – more kids stopped by her home in one night than we’ve had in 10 years at our place. It was great to see.
We spent Thanksgiving down at Amanda’s as well. Sandra and Wayne came on down too so we were together for the first time in over a year and a half. It’s definitely nice to restart some family traditions again – it’s been a long time coming.
We are going to spend a few days in Denver in December to be there for Faye’s first birthday. Paul couldn’t be there for her birth, but he definitely wasn’t going to miss her first birthday.
We will host Christmas Eve and then go down to Amanda’s for Christmas Day – seeking a return to normalcy.
Well that pretty much wraps up the Folena Family 2021 review. The Folenas want to wish you and your loved ones a fabulous holiday season full of joy and good cheer. Have a healthy, prosperous and jubilant New Year!

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