We're shaking things up this year! Rather than the usual chronological saga, this year is all about themes.
After 10 years of little news on the work front, this year there was finally some excitement! The biggest news is that Leo made the jump from developing software for banks at Sungard to being a developer for one of his own favorite online games - Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO). He started working for Turbine in May and received an award for "Rookie of the Year" at the recent holiday party. He's really enjoying the work, the atmosphere, and socializing with everyone who works there, including our good friend Nathan who played a key role in connecting Leo with the job. If you play LOTRO or are interested in playing, send Leo an email!
Karen had a big year at work as well. When her old boss left to take a different position within Pega, she was promoted to take his place as a director. She also won a "Chairman's Award" which is given each year to around 8 top performers from around the company and includes a luxurious all-expense paid trip with the other winners and sales people who exceeded their quota. This year the trip was to La Samanna Resort in St Martin which was truly spectacular (St Martin photo album).
Karen also co-presented 3 sessions at PegaWorld which was in Washington DC this year and went to Hyderabad, India to visit the PegaIndia office (Hyderabad photo album).
Karen and Leo in St Martin and Karen at Golkonda Fort in Hyderabad
This year our vacations included our usual week of downhill skiing in Utah with Karen's family (Utah photo album) and cross-country skiing in New Hampshire with Leo's family (New Hampshire photo album).
We went to Washington DC over the summer. Leo played bridge at the Nationals for about half the time and went sight-seeing with Karen and the kids the rest of the time. Karen loved taking the kids to all the different museums and monuments. It was definitely one of the highlights of the year! (Washington DC photo album)
Left: Gregory holding a rubbing of Karen's uncle's name from the Vietnam Wall. Right: Inside the Natural History museum
Just before school started we took a week and a half long trip to DisneyWorld with Karen's family (Disney photo album).
Pictures from Disney. I had to include the one from Arabian nights since we paid an exorbitant fee and need to get our money's worth!
We actually just got back yesterday from our final vacation of the year. With Leo's family we took a cruise to Mexico leaving from New Orleans (Cruise photo album). We missed our connection so we made it to our New Year's Eve party at 11:57 PM. Whew!
Clockwise from top-left: Dzibilchaltun (ha! pronounce that!), Chankanaab Park near Cozumel, next to the slide on the ship, and Gregory battling a hammock
Intermission - It's Not All Good!
Holiday newsletters tend to be unrelentingly and nauseatingly cheery so here is some not-so-good news as a break:
- Julia's fish Maggie Pinky Puff passed on. We buried him in our backyard although the service was somewhat abbreviated due to ravenous mosquitoes.
- Karen regained all the weight she lost several years ago (the recent cruise helped a lot!). She also lost a bet at work which caused her to have to sing embarassing karaoke (if you stumble across a video of this on youtube please let Karen know as there is someone she would need to strangle).
- Leo lost a week of vacation when he switched jobs
- Our house is getting more and more full of junk. The amount of paper and projects sent home from the school is staggering. Karen can't help but pick up more and more books at library sales and yard sales. Julia is on about her hundredth stuffed animal. We really need to declutter and cart a bunch of stuff away but for some reason we can never get our act together.
- Gregory still gets occasional notes sent home from school about bad things he's done like not listening to the teachers or throwing bark on the playground.
- Both kids are not very organized with their homework. Despite our best efforts it often seems to get lost on the way home, in the giant piles of stuff at home, or on the way back to school.
- No one eats 3-5 servings a day of vegetables unless you count things like ketchup, mashed potatoes, and pickles.
- Gregory got a cavity
Easter was celebrated in Sharon with dying eggs and easter baskets. Whoops, that should have been dyeing eggs. I am not quite sure what dying eggs would entail. We saw fireworks by the lake in Sharon for July 4th. For Halloween the kids were Darth Vader and a dog and one of the highlights was the incredible haunted house that Leo's work created. We traveled to Connecticut for a wonderful Thanksgiving with Karen's extended family. We also appreciated the help of our friends Nathan and Bridget keeping us in touch with Leo's Jewish roots (and tasty Jewish food!). This year they hosted a party to make Hamentashen (Hamentashen photo album) and a Hannuakh party.
Halloween and Thanksgiving
Karen finally got a season pass to Six Flags this year and then proceeded to only use it once. We got to go for free with Leo's work for their summer outing and then we went again on the very last day of the season with Karen's cousin Jimmy.
Six Flags is one of the kids' favorite places! On left with Nathan, Bridget, and Noah and on right with Jimmy
Family and Friends
We're extremely grateful to have such supportive and loving families. We feel especially lucky that our kids have had a chance to get to know all 4 of Leo's grandparents.
Celebrating Leo's grandfather's 85th birthday plus 4 generations of Zelevinsky men
And don't forget the girls! Julia with her great-grandmother Natasha
As usual, we've enjoyed having Dan, Amy, and Katya over nearly every week. Heather and Vlad represent the finest combination of friends AND family and we spent several weekends and many evenings enjoying each other's company. We went ziplining in Western Massachusetts and they've also been continuing their quest to improve our tastes in food and drink. Karen's co-worker Das has also been doing his part along those lines. We also got to help celebrate Jack Dill's first birthday party and have dinner with Steve Dill. In March, Karen had a chance to meet up with her college friends Andrea and Gigi.
Here's to old friends! Not to say that we are getting old or anything...
The Great Outdoors
For the first time in 17 years, Karen went snowboarding again! She went with some friends from work at a small place in Massachusetts and it turns out it's just like riding the proverbial bicycle! Muscle memory is a beautiful thing. In terms of outdoorsy things for the year, we also went biking with Karen's family and camping with Jimmy, Barb, and Grace (Camping photo album). There was also some excellent romping in the snow recently with two of Gregory and Julia's best friends (Snow photo album).
Fun outside in warm and cold weather (even when getting a snowball in the face)!
We hope all of you have a great 2010 and will keep in
touch! Please come and see us when you can.
Previous years' sites: