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  • Family photo taken in Maui in July.

  • Becky and ET on Halloween

  • Samantha and Skipper at the Munchkin Holiday Party

  • Becky after cycling to the Haleakala summit.

  • Dave and Shadow bonded.

  • Mona and Dave celebrated their 30th anniversary in Hawaii.

  • Mona on New Year's Eve Day with nieces Scarlett and Vivi in Kansas City.

  • Skipper often serves as Samantha's kickball team mascot.

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This year's update will focus on highlights of the year and life changes. All of the unsaid stuff (for example, Mona's work, Dave's horses and driving, yadda, yadda, yadda (thanks Seinfield) are all going fine, but not that interesting to read about.

So things end on a high note (always leave with them wanting more - another Seinfield reference), let us open with the year's sadder notes.

The Giants did not win the World Series – but 2016 is an even year - so expect them to be back!

On July 17, Samantha's sweet dog Skipper was viciously attacked by a pit bull that jumped out of a parked car's window (driver sitting inside). He was ripped apart and paralyzed. While volumes could be written about this, the summary is as follows. Skipper had spinal surgery which was very successful, and last week had his last PT session. While six months ago he was on death's door with an uncertain future if he lived, he is now moving around very well and happy as can be. It was a very tough several months for Samantha, but now all is well. Unfortunately, the low life that owned the dog has effectively fled, and our chance of any financial recovery is very low. Equally unnerving is the fact that that this was the pit bull's second attack in three months and the dog is still out there. Don't get me started on the pit bull issue for I cannot see justification for the breed.

Okay. So the above sad news had a happy ending. Sans the happy ending, we lost our cat Shadow to illness this fall. He was 15 years old and lived a very content life. He loved Mona and she loved him and his loss is still felt daily. (We knew he was really sick when he didn't run away from Dave!) Now onto some happier changes…

Becky, now 28, moved to San Francisco on Super Bowl Sunday and took a programming job with Groupon in the City. Her decision to pursue a second bachelor's degree in computer science has clearly paid dividends. It is great to have her back close to home and now we get to see her more often. Groupon also has a Palo Alto office less than one mile from our house and Becky is free to work there any day so it offers great flexibility and gives her the ability to migrate back to suburbia if she wishes to do so.

Samantha, now 25, continues to work for Munchkin in SoCal and lives in North Hollywood. During Skipper's recovery, she was permitted to bring the pup to work with her daily. Now, the office, from the top down, is so fond of him, she effectively is not permitted to come to work without him! Hopefully she can soon negotiate his salary as the company's mascot.

Early in the year Mona had surgery removing part of her thyroid gland that had a small, benign growth. The surgery went great and there has been no adverse reaction of any kind. We celebrated our 30th anniversary in July in Maui with Becky, Samantha, Dave's Mom Phyllis, Dave's sister Debbie and her two children Jack (14) and Mattie (11). A great time was had by all.

Beginning to think about retirement, we purchased a week at a Hyatt timeshare in Sedona, Arizona, but effectively can be used anywhere as we are hopeful to up the travel a bit in the next few years. After neglecting home improvement for some time, we are having the house painted inside and out, and all carpets replaced. After 24 years of kids and pets (and related stains), it was greatly needed. Eventually we will get around to replacing our dead lawns front and back too!

Finally, Dave ran for a seat on the California Harness Horsemen's Association board where he now finds himself as Vice President. He loves to drive in races, but the situation in California is getting very challenging and he thought he could leverage some of his expertise to help the horsemen that struggle here. While the overall health of racing is less than ideal, he has pushed through some initiatives that have benefitted the local horsemen which personally gratifying.

Happy Holidays.

Mona, Dave, Becky and Samantha