Merry Christmas 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

We Sampsons are not so good about getting Christmas cards out, although we certainly appreciate the ones we get (thank you).  For us, this Christmas note will have to do in the place of a card.  Truth be told, I’d much rather pen a personal note than prepare a bunch of holiday cards, so this is a good trade.

2010 has been a good year.  We are all happy (usually) and healthy (except for the occasional crud) and sassy (a good thing, in my estimation).

Ryan turned 16 in November and is morphing before our eyes from a fine boy to a fine young man.  16?  Yeah it is strange for me too.  He is in 10th grade, has his share of 16-year-old stuff to manage.  Lots of homework. His girlfriend. Hanging with his Bro’s.  Confirmation. Xbox.  Dealing with Mom and Dad and their persistent unreasonableness.  And of course, his Drums. Ryan is really into his kit, and he is pretty good at it too.  He and one of his pals are trying to get a band up and running, but need to find a bass player.  He works hard at his music, and it is an important part of his life.  Driver’s ed will come in the spring – no huge hurry yet.  Ryan is a great kid – kind, conscientious (usually), and a friend to many. We are lucky parents.

Evan is 7 and will be 8 in January.  Yikes!  He is in 2nd grade and excels in all things requiring language and creativity. He does pretty darn well with math, science etc too, but language – English and Spanish, talking and writing (and talking some more) seem to come very natural to him.  He is wildly creative and imaginative.  In fact, we think he has a little parallel universe he runs into and out of quite frequently.  He started piano this year – the jury is out as to whether it will stick.  Evan is an admirer of his Big Bro, but is not shy about occasionally tormenting him, where required. Pokemon still reigns supreme for Evan.  Like his big bro, Evan is very good to be around.  My young man carries a light like no other.

Jen is…oh I won’t say how old…not That old.  She works at Capella University as an enrollment counselor.  It is her job to help students find the right program and get on with the hard work of attaining their graduate degree.  She is also my co-chief limousine driver, shuttling our children to and fro, and fro again.  She is also the manager of our household – a thankless task.  The rest of us are faithful followers.  In a house chock full of boys — three human boys (me included), a male dog, and two male cats, she manages to hold up her end of the whole household-girl-balance-thing very well, thank you very much.  No small feat.

Rick (actually I) ‘enjoyed’ a birthday this year where both the numbers were the same, and no I am neither 33 nor 55.  I continue my employment at UnitedHealth as an IT Director.  I oversee a team of 40-50 folks (depending on the time of year) who produce applications that support UHG call centers and phone systems.  It is a good gig.  So whenever you call UHC, enter your member ID on the back of your card, then your date of birth, then navigate the automated system, you can think of me.  Or curse me.  Your call.  I won’t take it personally.  So my 2010 is…I continue to be Hubby and Dad and Boss (at work) and chauffeur and play my guitar and sing with my choirs, and just generally be a Lucky Guy.  Lest you ever hear me complain, you have permission to slap me upside the head.  We Sampsons have an abundance of good things in our lives.

So that’s it from Sampsonville USA.  All is well.  For whatever tradition you may personally cherish — Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Dudeism, whatever – we hope you have a safe, happy, and blessed holiday season.  Despite all the good that is upon us, it can also be rough out there this time of year, so…most of all, don’t forget to be kind to neighbors, strangers, and yourselves.

Love & Peace,

Rick, Jen, Ryan, & Evan