Folena Family 2023

Buone Feste
oas Festas 

We sincerely hope 2023 proved to be a wonderful year for you and yours …Here is a brief review of our year.

** Note: click on any photo to see an enhanced view.

In March we went down to meet up with Rob and his family at Disneyland. Jordan (turned 6 in January) and Faye (3 in December) had a blast as the Magic Kingdom lived up to its reputation. We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel which provided easy access to the theme parks and was very convenient. To his surprise Rob really enjoyed the trip more than he thought he would – the big kid in him came out. The new Star Wars attractions were a huge hit with everyone while Faye really enjoyed the more traditional rides, especially Little Mermaid. Rob had his au pair, Elif Isler from Turkey, come with the family to give Rob and Desta some much needed R&R. Coincidentally, Amanda and her family had just gone down to Disneyland themselves in February as a part of Archbishop Mitty High School performing arts as chaperones. Everyone in the family got to enjoy Disney’s 100th anniversary.
Later in March we attended the Mitty High School production of “Music Man” directed by Amanda. Both Felicity (turned 9 in May) and Hunter (6 in September) were in the ensemble cast and showed great enthusiasm marching and singing on stage. As always the production was very well done and showcased some of Mitty’s more talented students as they performed in sold out shows.
In April we took a quick trip out to Denver to spend some time with Rob’s family. We were able to see Jordan play soccer and experience in person how fast he is compared to other kids his age. During the visit we were also able to see Faye taking her first swimming lessons.
Back at home we were excited to see Hunter play tee-ball for the Gilroy Brewers. When the season started Hunter was a little unsure of himself as he was new to the sport and wasn’t quite sure what to do and when. However, he was a quick learner and by the end of the season he had improved greatly. So much so that he was presented the Most Improved Player award by his coach at the team party. We were all very proud of him.
I’ll never forget the summer of 2023. We had been planning a family reunion to bring all of us together in Colorado since the summer of 2020. Unfortunately COVID scuttled those plans for years and we were finally going to make it happen this year. What I didn’t realize was how challenging this was going to be – I tripped and broke my right ankle (fibula) on the 4th of July, 2 days before traveling. I just couldn’t believe it. Didn’t matter – we were going someway, somehow as we weren’t going to postpone the reunion any further. We left for Denver with me sporting an air-cast boot and wheelchair.
Rob and Desta pulled out all the stops in hosting all of us at their home. Rob had a jumpy house and water slide for the kids at his house. The cousins had a great time playing together and just being around each other in person. Rob rented a scooter for me to get around a bit easier than using a wheelchair which really helped. We spent afternoons at the community pool where the kids enjoyed water slides and jumping off of the diving boards. We had a wonderful time.
At the end of July we were invited to attend Desta’s brother Eli’s wedding at the Waldorf-Astoria in Dana Point in Orange county. The wedding and reception were fabulous. The accommodations were first rate and the hotel grounds were stunning with access to a private beach. We lived the high life for a couple of days.
I was planning to retire from teaching in September but my plans were accelerated due to my foot – I couldn’t teach because I couldn’t stand and bare any weight. I effectively retired early giving notice to Heartshare Training that I wouldn’t be teaching NRP any longer.
Around this time, at the start of August, Paul and I were really looking forward to our planned trip to Maui for our anniversary at the beginning of September. Unfortunately this trip had to be cancelled due to the Maui fires at Lahaina where we were scheduled to stay nearby. We pivoted and spent our anniversary in Half Moon Bay at the Seal Cove Inn. Needless to say we won’t ever forget the summer of 2023.
In October we went down to visit cousin Kristine Rudkin in Nipomo near San Luis Obispo. We stayed with her a couple of days and took a day trip down to Solvang. Kristine has a very nice home with a community center including restaurant, bar and pool/spa. We were able to celebrate her birthday while we were there.
Hunter starting playing basketball around this time. He played for the Celtics and wore number 6 – Paul let him know that he was wearing the great Bill Russell’s number so he had some big shoes to fill. Just like with tee-ball it took Hunter awhile to figure out the game and he did just that. At the end of the season it was a night and day improvement.
In November we had the great fortune of attending grandparent’s day with Felicity and Hunter at Queen of Apostles school and then also attending grandparent’s day with Jordan at St. Mary’s in Colorado as we traveled back to spend Thanksgiving with Rob’s family. It turns out that Jordan was also taking up basketball and Rob was one of the coaches of the team. We were able to witness a practice session and game while we were there.
We spent a few days before Thanksgiving at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Rob and his family have made this a family tradition as they go there every year prior to Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful room with a great view of the mountains and scenery. The weather was unseasonably pleasant with an abundance of sunshine and moderate temps. We took advantage of the indoor pool and great cuisine at the various restaurants on property. We basically pampered ourselves.
We spent Thanksgiving at Desta’s Mom and Dad’s home in Highlands Ranch. They have a lovely home with plenty of room for the extended family gathering. The food was great as the spread included prime rib in addition to the more traditional turkey and fixings. The Asfaw family always make us feel so welcome.
In December we saw Felicity in the Starting Arts production of “Little Mermaid Jr.” She played Allana, a mermaid princess and sister to Ariel. She really enjoys performing on stage and we really enjoy watching her perform. We know her mom and dad are very proud of her.
We will be hosting Christmas Eve at our place as we count our blessings and welcome friends and family.
Well that’s about it in summary. We wish you and yours the very best that life has to offer – health, happiness and most of all joy in 2024!

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